A number of key states legalized online sports betting in 2021, with most even managing to launch in the same year.
More states will join the growing online sports betting market in 2022 – but just how many?
There are still 26 states that have not yet legalized online sports betting. That list includes Florida sportsbooks, which tried to push statewide online betting through a new compact with the Seminole Indians.
Not all of those states have shown interest in legalized betting. Some have tried and failed in the past while others might be feeling pressure from nearby states that finally legalized in 2021.
States with a good chance to legalize online sports betting in 2022
There are six states that, for one reason or another, look likely to allow online sports betting in 2022:
- North Carolina
Arkansas is the easiest lift. Sports betting in Arkansas is already legal and the Racing Commission is holding a meeting this week for public comment on allowing mobile sports betting statewide that could come through a simple rule change.
Mississippi and North Carolina are in similar boats to Arkansas. Both states have legal retail betting but require additional sports betting legislation to legalize statewide mobile. Bills to legalize mobile betting are expected in both states next year.
Kentucky and Missouri b0th need to get to work, though the situation is a bit more dire for Kentucky. With Ohio sports betting finally signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, Kentucky becomes nearly entirely surrounded by legal betting states. The only exception is the tiny southwestern corner that borders Missouri. Both states now have more options for their residents to leave the state and send tax dollars from sports betting revenue elsewhere. Legislators in both states are already planning their 2022 pushes.
Massachusetts, meanwhile, is one of the biggest hangover states from 2021. The Senate simply did not have the appetite to move on MA sports betting this year. With Connecticut sports betting and New York online sportsbooks approved in 2021, Massachusetts is now almost entirely surrounded by mobile betting states.
Expect an effort, but not passage
There are a few states that will likely see active legislation like years past but no real pressure to get anything done:
Alabama, Georgia and Kansas saw decent action in 2021 but those efforts all died on their respective House floors.
Minnesota’s legislature might feel compelled to act this year. Entering 2021, Iowa sportsbooks were the only legal option nearby for full mobile sports betting. That’s about to change in 2022 with Ontario sports betting now open for single-game betting with full online expansion expected.
Texas online sports betting would be huge for the industry, but there’s no guarantee that is coming anytime soon. Last February, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said sports betting wouldn’t “see the light of day” in 2021. The Texas legislature doesn’t meet again until 2023.
States where online sports betting will come down to tribes
There are a couple of important states where tribes will dictate what happens with online sports betting:
Washington likely will not change anytime soon. Efforts to legalize statewide mobile in 2020 failed with a retail-only bill for Indian casinos passing instead.
There are multiple initiatives trying to secure enough signatures to hit the November 2022 ballot to legalize sports betting in California. Those include both tribal and commercial-led initiatives and could come down to which gets enough signatures and, later, tribal support.
Oklahoma tried to approve sports betting through new compacts in 2020 but that was overturned a few months later by the state’s supreme court.
Florida, of course, did something similar last year and actually went live with online sports betting for a brief time. That issue is still in court and could drag well into 2022 before there is a resolution. There are other efforts to get commercial betting on the November ballot, but those seem unlikely to get the signatures needed.