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5 States Likely to Legalize Gambling in 2021

Since the federal ban on gambling was lifted following a Supreme Court ruling back in 2018, we’ve seen legal gambling come to fruition in more than two dozen US states. Although online gambling is only available in less than half of those, it’s still massive leap forward in just three short years, and is helping the country to reclaim millions of dollars in lost revenue from the black market. 

Is gambling not yet legal where you are?

Then you needn’t worry, as here at CaptianGambling, the experts are keeping an eye on the legal gambling and sports betting status of each and every state. We’ve assessed the situation and figured out those most likely to take the leap and legalize gambling in 2021.

Take a look at our top 5 to see if your State makes the list:

Massachusetts

massachusetts gambling legal

How sports betting is not yet legal in the Bay State remains a mystery to us all for a number of reasons. For starters, here have been multiple hearings and bills voted in - and they have the full backing of the governer - yet somehow haven’t gotten over the line. Massachusens can already legally place online sports wagers by crossing over state borders to either New Hampshire or Rhode Island. You’d therefore think the Mass. government and lawmakers would see to it that it just gets done. Oh - and DraftKing’s is headquartered in Boston for Pete’s sake - come on! 

Surely 2021 has to be the year that Mass. lawmakers finally get this sorted once and for all...

Connecticut

connecticut gambling legal

A Neighbor of Massachusetts that has also been poised to legalize sports betting for a while now, but has never managed to get it over the line. However, where the Massachussettes situation baffles us slightly, the reason behind Connecticut's failure to get it over the line thus far is much more plain to see. The two tribes in the Nutmeg State are desperate to have the exclusive right to sports wagering, so that it can become a part of the casino gambling duopoly they currently enjoy. There has therefore been a long-running battle between the tribes and lawmakers who are in favour of commercial casinos and sports betting. 

2021 looks to finally be the year, and it seems is though it’ll be the tribes who come out on top, as Sen. Cathy Osten looks prepped to get he bill through. She’s been a vocal backer of tribal sports wagering and her bill has the support of the two tribes.

Arizona

arizona gambling legal

A state that borders the largest and best known gambling haven in the world is always going to have a fighting chance of legalizing a little sports wager. As is the case with Connecticut, Arizona’s problems boil down to tribal objections. Sen. Sonny Borelli has been putting forward bills that would allow for both tribal and commercial sports wagering for two years now - but the tribes ain’t happy, and they want full exclusivity or no legal wagering at all. 

Has anything happened to see a shift in opinion for 2021? Yes, but not at legislative level. Unlike Connecticut, there have been no concrete signs of a bill that will finally see one side win or find a compromise to please all parties. However, sports betting giants FanDuel have signed a deal with the Phoenix Suns. Therefore the hopes of legal sports wagering coming to Arizona in 2021 all hinge on the assumption that FanDuel know something we don’t.

Kansas

kansas legal gambling

Kansas is another state that hasn’t been able to get a bill over the line due to two parties being at loggerheads. Although unlike Arizona and Connecticut, it’s not a case of Tribes vs Commercial. Instead, the two opposing parties here are the Senate, who want to have the gaming commission as the regulator of legal sports wagering, and the House, who want the state lottery to have complete control - from regulation to in-person operation through their 1200 licensed retailers. 

The two parties haven’t yet managed to find some sort of middle ground, however they are thought to be getting closer. Is 2021 the year the finally get it over the line? We can’t say for sure, but it’s the best chance that the Sunflower State has had in over two years of debate.

Georgia

georgia legal gambling

Perhaps one of the most surprising states on this list, given that it’s typically viewed as a conservative Southern State. However, Georgia went against the grain in the 2020 Presidential Election by (eventually) turning blue, and could continue to show the tides are turning by legalizing sports wagering in 2021. The possibility of legalizing some form of sport betting has been seriously discussed by government officials and law makers over the past two years, and recent surveys have suggested that a public vote could pass. Additionally, all of the pro sports teams in the Peach State have come out in favor of legalization. 

The wheels are in motion and the stage is set for Georgia to welcome legalized sports wagering - however one thing stands in its way! Legalizing sports wagering would require an amendment to Georgia’s conservative constitution, which would dramatically delay the process - until November 2022 at the very earliest. However, there is a possible way Georgia can get a round this - if the state lottery becomes the regulator. Moves are being made to try and make this happen, so watch this space Georgians!

And an honorable mention to our rank outsider…

Florida!

florida legal gambling

As reported at the time by CaptainGambling, a bill was filed in December 2020 that would allow lottery-regulated mobile sports betting in the Sunshine State. However once again its a tribe that stands in the way. The Seminole Tribe controls gaming in Florida and want exclusive rights to any legal sports wagering. They haven’t been mentioned even fleetingly in the filed bill, and it’s fair to say that hasn’t gone down well in the Seminole camp. 

There’s still an outside chance that Florida could see legalize mobile sports wagering in 2021, however given that the see-saw of compromise is so heavily lopsided at the minute, we think it’ll likely be at least some way into 2022 before a middle ground is reached.

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