Sports Wagering: State-by-State Update for Tribal Entities with Gaming Compacts

by Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP

[co-author: Julie Risgaard Mortensen, Foreign Visiting Associate]

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violated the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it illegally empowered the federal government to order certain states to take specific actions to disallow sports gambling. The Supreme Court's May 2018 ruling allows Congress to regulate sports wagering directly if it so chooses, but unless and until Congress addresses the issue, individual states have the authority to pass statutes that would legalize sports wagering within their borders.

The Supreme Court's ruling provides tribes with an opportunity to offer sports wagering. The more than 240 tribes with gaming compacts should take steps to determine how they might be affected by sports wagering. For example, if a state allows non-tribal commercial entities to operate sports books, it could violate compacts that provide tribes the exclusive right to offer Class III gaming in that state.

Holland & Knight has provided below an analysis of the current legislative status of sports wagering in each of the 50 states and will continue to monitor the issue.

Sports Wagering Legalized




Full-scale sports wagering was legalized on June 5, 2018, at all three casinos in the state (Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Harrington Raceway & Casino).


Sports wagering was legalized in 2017 (pursuant to House Bill No. 967 regarding daily fantasy sports law, which also removed the prohibition in the Mississippi Gaming Control Act on sports wagering).

In June 2018, the Mississippi Gaming Commission adopted regulations regarding sports wagering, and licensed gaming operators can now apply for a license to offer sports wagering.


Sports wagering has long been legal in Nevada, as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act contained an exception for the state.

New Jersey

Sports wagering was legalized in June 2018 (Assembly Bill No. 4111). The bill permits both in-person and online sports wagering.

As of Sept. 25, 2018, eight casinos offer in-person sports wagering, and six casinos and two racetracks offer online sports wagering.

New York

Sports wagering was legalized at four casinos in the state of New York in June 2013 "provided that there has been a change in federal law authorizing such activity or upon ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction that such activity is lawful" (Senate Bill S5883). However, the New York State Gaming Commission has not yet completed and adopted regulations on sports wagering at those four casinos.

During 2018, several bills relating to sports wagering were introduced to the New York legislature (Assembly Bill A11144, Senate Bill S1282A, Assembly Bill A10322 and Assembly Bill A11225). However, no votes have been taken on the bills yet, which are still in committee.


Sports wagering was legalized in October 2017 (2017 Act No. 42, House Bill 271) in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling. It is stated in the act that sports wagering is authorized "when federal law is enacted or repealed or a federal court decision is filed that permits a state to regulate sports wagering." The act permits both in-person and online sports wagering.

As of Sept. 25, 2018, three casinos in Pennsylvania have applied for a sports wagering license.

Rhode Island

Sports wagering was legalized in June 2018 in connection with approval of the 2019 state budget, which included provisions on the legalization of sports wagering hosted by the Twin River and Tiverton gaming facilities. The act permits in-person sports wagering only.

West Virginia

Sports wagering was legalized in March 2018 (Senate Bill 415) in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling. It is stated in the bill that sports wagering is permitted "after federal law against sports wagering is no longer in effect." The act permits both in-person and online sports wagering.

On July 9, 2018, the West Virginia Lottery Commission adopted regulations regarding sports wagering in the state. The first casino to offer sports wagering was Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, which officially began offering sports wagering on Sept. 1, 2018.

Sports Wagering Illegal, But Legislative Effort to Legalize




A proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the November 2018 ballot would legalize sports wagering at four sites in the state. The proposal has been made by the group "Driving Arkansas Forward" and the proposal entails the authorization of two new casinos – in Jefferson County and Pope County – while enhancing the gaming operations at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs as well as Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis.


An amendment to the state's constitution is required to legalize sports wagering. A proposed constitutional amendment legalizing sports wagering has been made (ACA-18). A two-thirds voter approval is required for passage. The bill is, however, still in committee and will not be on the November 2018 ballot. Also, a proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the November 2020 ballot would legalize sports wagering (California Sports Wagering Initiative, No. 18-0003).


A proposal has been made for a bill that establishes a regulatory framework for sports wagering in the state (Bill No. 540, File No. 633). Pursuant to an act adopted in July 2017 (House Bill No. 6948, Public Act No. 17-209, which may be amended if House Bill No. 5307 is adopted), the Commissioner of Consumer Protection is authorized to adopt regulations to authorize sports wagering, although it has not done so yet. The state legislative session ended in May 2018 and will not reconvene until early 2019.


Although there is currently no proposed legislation to legalize sports wagering, there is a proposed bill establishing a commission to review the pros and cons of legalized gambling (House Bill No. 927). The commission will evaluate the types of gambling, including sports wagering.


Several bills have been proposed to the Illinois legislature, which would, to a certain extent, authorize sports wagering (HB 5186, SB 7, SB 2478, SB 3125 and SB 3432), but no votes have been taken on the bills yet.


Two bills legalizing sports wagering have been introduced to the Indiana legislature during 2018 (House Bill 1325 and Senate Bill 405), but no votes have been taken on the bills, which are still in committee.


Two bills legalizing sports wagering were introduced to the Iowa legislature in January 2018 (House File 2448 and House Study Bill 592), but no votes have been taken on the bills yet.


Bills legalizing sports wagering have been introduced to the Kansas legislature in 2018 but died in committee.


Two bills legalizing sports wagering on professional sports and some college sports have been introduced to the Kentucky legislature (SB 22/BR 155 and HB 536/BR 238), but no votes have been taken on the bills.


A bill legalizing sports wagering has been introduced to the Louisiana legislature during 2018 (Senate Bill 266), but no votes have been taken on the bill yet, which is still in committee.


A bill authorizing the Maryland General Assembly to legalize sports wagering has been introduced (House Bill No. 1014) and was passed by the Maryland House of Delegates but not by the Senate, and it is not on the November 2018 ballot.


Although there is currently no proposed legislation to legalize sports wagering, a bill was adopted in May 2018 (Senate Bill 2273) pursuant to which a commission was established to conduct a comprehensive study of, and offer proposed legislation on, online sports wagering.


Several bills legalizing sports wagering have been introduced to the Michigan legislature (House Bills No. 4060, 4261, 4529 and 4926), but no votes have been taken on the bills yet.


Several bills legalizing sports wagering have been introduced to the Missouri legislature during 2018 (House Bill No. 2406, House Bill No. 2535 and Senate Bill No. 1013), but no votes have been taken on the bills yet.


Two "placeholder" bills were introduced in July 2018 (House Bill No. 714 and Senate Bill No. 316) containing only the following language: "It is the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering." No specifics on the bills have yet been provided.


A bill legalizing the inclusion of sports wagering in existing compacts between tribes and the state was introduced to the Oklahoma legislature in 2018 (House Bill No. 3375). The wording relating to sports wagering was, however, later removed from the bill.


The state of Oregon allowed some forms of sports wagering in 1989 (House Bill No. 3262) by giving the Oregon State Lottery Commission authority to operate games allowing the public to bet on the outcome of NFL football games (1989) and later on Scoreboard, another game based on the outcome of professional football (2003). Because the state permitted sports pools before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was enacted, the state was exempted from the Act. However, in 2005 the Oregon legislature passed a bill (House Bill No. 3466) that banned such sports wagering effective as of July 1, 2007. There is currently no proposed legislation to legalize it.

South Carolina

A bill legalizing sports wagering was introduced to the South Carolina legislature during 2018 (House Bill No. 3102), but no votes have been taken on the bill, which is still with the committee. The next opportunity for legislation will be in the 2019 session.


Sports wagering is illegal in the state of Washington, with the narrow exception for "100-square sports pool boards," which is the only sports wagering authorized under Washington state law.

Washington, D.C.

A proposal for a bill legalizing sports wagering was introduced to the Council of the District of Colombia on Sept. 18, 2018 (B22-0944).

Sports Wagering Illegal and No Current Legislative Effort to Legalize



Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Sports wagering is illegal under state law and there is currently no proposed legislation to legalize it in these states.

Although these states have not legalized sports wagering, tribes with Class III gaming compacts that do not exclude sports wagering have begun to consider implementing sports wagering at their casinos.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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