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Which States Will Legalize Online Sports Betting In 2024? Ballot Push Makes Missouri Lone Hope

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 12 mins

Which States Will Legalize Online Sports Betting In 2024? Ballot Push Makes Missouri Lone Hope

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The 2024 legislative season has ended. And for the first time in the 6 years, since PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court, which cleared the way for legalized sports betting nationwide, no state passed legislation to approve legal betting apps.

Efforts to legalize sports betting failed from coast to coast. A ballot initiative in California was shelved after stiff opposition from native tribes. For the fourth straight year, the push to legalize sports betting died in the Georgia legislature this year. North Carolina launched in March and will be the final state to launch sports betting in 2024. The next sports betting launch will not occur until Q3 of 2025 at the earliest. 

Starting on New Year's Day 2023, online sports betting enjoyed a 12-month expansion period that will be unmatched moving forward. 

Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, Kentucky, Vermont, Maine, and North Carolina all launched mobile sports betting between January 2023 and March of 2024.

Florida online sports betting was active briefly in late 2021 before it was shut down by a federal judge. That case was eventually decided by a federal appeals court, allowing the Hard Rock Bet app to return in November. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case in mid-June.  

Vermont and Maine going live means all six New England states offer legal, online sports betting. 

Odds To Legalize Sports Betting In 2024

StateOddsImplied Probability
Missouri+25020%
OklahomaOTB-
AlabamaOTB-
South CarolinaOTB-
MinnesotaOTB-
GeorgiaOTB-
CaliforniaOTB-
TexasOTB-

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State-By-State Odds 

Online North Carolina sports betting went live statewide on March 11. 

According to the American Gaming Association, sports betting is now legal and operational in 38 states, plus Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. That leaves little room for expansion. But there are multiple states where betting legislation is being considered and/or has been previously proposed. 

It typically takes about six months to a year for a state to launch legal sports betting once it's legalized, given the regulatory hangups. 

With that in mind, here is a look at our hypothetical odds on which states could legalize online sports betting in 2024.

Missouri: +250

Which States Will Legalize Online Sports Betting In 2024? Ballot Push Makes Missouri Lone Hope 4

“Winning for Missouri Education” organizers with help from the state's professional teams have succeeded in helping to get the required signatures to put an item on the November ballot that would legalize sports betting. More than 340,000 signatures were submitted by the May deadline. Only 180,000 are needed be certified. 

The St. Louis Blues, Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Current, and St. Louis City SC. united behind a push to get sports betting on the 2024 ballot. In order to make the state ballot, the initiative must get the signatures of 8% of the registered voters in six of eight Missouri congressional districts and total at least 180,000 valid signatures. 

Both FanDuel and DraftKings are backing the ballot push financially.

A sports betting bill (HB 2331) cleared a second House Committee. Its odds for passage appear good in the lower body. But its fare remains slim in the Senate. 

Two separate bills have been filed in the state senate. Both bills would permit online sports betting, in addition to retail betting at riverboat casinos. 

Casinos could partner with up to three online operators, while each riverboat casino would be eligible to partner with up to three online operators. Each professional team in the state would also be able to partner with a single mobile operator. The differences between the two pieces of proposed legislation (SB824) and (SB852) concern the rate of taxation on net winnings. And the second bill, offered by Sen. Denny Hoskins, would legalize video lottery terminals (VLTs).

It was that issue, the video lottery terminals, that doomed the push last year. Those stand-alone slot machines are available at gas stations, bars, and convenience stores throughout the state. 

The expected opposition of Hoskins to any bill that does not legalize VTLs leaves chances for the House proposal all but dead.Seven of the eight states that border Missouri have either operational or have legalized sports betting. 

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Oklahoma: Off The Board

Which States Will Legalize Online Sports Betting In 2024? Ballot Push Makes Missouri Lone Hope 2

Gov. Kevin Stitt wanted to legalize sports betting during the 2023 legislative session, but that didn't come to fruition. Oklahoma’s Native American tribes hold exclusive rights to gambling in the Sooner State. In November 2023, Gov. Stitt intended to implement another sports betting plan that excludes the tribes. Meanwhile. Sen. Casey Murdock has filed a bill to legalize sports betting and allow anyone who can afford to, operate a sportsbook in the state. Under Murdock's proposal, Tribes could negotiate sports betting compacts with the governor but would need approval from the Oklahoma Legislature’s Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations.

“I’m most definitely not saying the tribes can’t do it. I’m just saying anybody can do it,” Murdock said. “If Joe Blow wants to start a business and wants to start a sportsbook, I want him to be able to. I didn’t want to put any exclusiveness in this.”

Still, the track record elsewhere says that nothing will happen unless the Tribes are made part of the solution. 

The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association remains firm in its belief that the state's gaming compacts gives their members exclusive control to all forms of betting.

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Alabama: Off The Board

Hopes of legalized sports betting in Alabama being legalized this year suffered a fatal blow in a Senate committee in March. Two bills that would have put sports betting, casino betting, a state lottery, and parimutuel wagering to voters were approved by the House on February 15. 

A Senate committee removed the sports betting and casino provisions from the bills. Allowing just a lottery and the parimutuel wagering.

A House/Senate conference committee hopes to come up with a compromise bill. Both sides, meanwhile, are said to be working toward a compromise after “several productive meetings,” reported the Alabama Reflector

Lawmakers said discussions are on-going and public meeting would be held once both sides feel "comfortable doing so." 

The House approved two expansive gaming bills in February that called for the legalization of up to seven casinos, in-person and online sports betting, and a state lottery to support Alabama education. A Senate committee, however, stripped sports betting language out of the bills leaving only the approval of three tribal casinos, a state lottery, and parimutuel wagering on horse and dog races at seven state tracks.

HR 151 would have put a proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution to make gambling legal in front of voters in November. It passed by a 70-32 margin with five more votes than needed for the 3/5ths requirement. 

The other bill (HB152) would have legalized had it retained its original form:

  • Online and retail sports betting
  • A state lottery
  • Up to 10 casino sites with table games & slot machines

It's been 25 years since voters in Alabama rejected a proposed state lottery. 

Legal betting has the support of Gov. Kay Ivey.

South Carolina: Off The Board

A bill to legalize sports betting (HB 3749) fizzled in the 2023-24 legislative session. The bill would have allow anyone 18 or over in the state to wager on up to as many eight sports betting apps. The fate of betting in South Carolina will be driven by the success of neighboring North Carolina. But that won't happen until 2025. 

Minnesota: Off The Board

For the second straight year, the push to legalize Minnesota sports betting fell short in the legislature. 

“We’re going to come up just short on the sports betting bill this year. But in the last few days we proved that we could find a deal that all the major stakeholders could live with. Tribes, tracks, charities," posted Rep. Zack Stephenson, Chair of the Commerce Finance and Policy Committee Zack on Sunday. "That’s meaningful progress that can be a foundation for the future,” he added.

Minnesota has multiple stakeholders: native tribes, parimutuel sites, charities which run their own gaming entities, and the legislative session ended before a palatable compromise could be reached. 

All signs to point another push in 2025. 

Georgia: Off The Board

Which States Will Legalize Online Sports Betting In 2024? Ballot Push Makes Missouri Lone Hope 3

Despite having a pair of sports-betting-related bills that passed the Georgia Senate, the state legislature adjourned its 2024 session early on March 29 without either bill receiving a vote in the full House.

Sports betting and casinos would have been put to the voters via a constitutional amendment according to one bill passed by the Georgia Senate 41-12 on February 27 with three more votes than the 2/3rds majority required. It was paired with an enabling bill specifying how sports betting would operate that passed earlier in February.

The sports betting enabling bill was rewritten in the House committee. The newer version trimmed funding guaranteed for pre-K and problem gambling programs. That killed any chance of bi-partisan cooperation, which was needed to get the 2/3rds vote required in the House because of the Constitutional amendment requirement. Since the bill never had the votes to pass, it never made its way to the House floor before Sine Die, which fell in the first hour of March 29. 

The bill would have had the Georgia Lottery Corporation oversee sports betting and make sports betting a lottery game. It would allow those 21 and over to wager on professional and collegiate events. Up to 16 sports betting operators would have been allowed. Five of Atlanta’s professional sports teams: the Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Dream, and Atlanta United. The Augusta National Golf Club, the Professional Golf Association, and the Atlanta Motor Speedway would receive one license each.

Seven licenses would be open to sports betting providers through an application process overseen by lottery officials. The lottery corporation also would receive one license.

A Constitutional amendment would have been put to voters in the November general election for both sports betting and casino gaming. That could have cleared the way for sports betting in the Peach State in 2025.

The bill enjoyed the backing of Gov. Brian Kemp

It was the fourth consecutive session in which legislators discussed sports betting without sending a bill to the governor's desk. Expect similar a push next year. This year's session was bitten by a partisan divide over voting integrity. That issue should not be on the agenda next year, offering a better chance to get the bi-partisan cooperation needed for passage. 

California: Off The Board

The Golden State holds the Golden Ticket for the growth of sports betting in the United States. California is the nation’s most populous state. But don’t expect sports betting apps to be available there any time soon. 

Mobile betting in California remains a far-off dream for bettors and books alike. A much-publicized, $600 million ballot push to pass two sports betting proposals miserably at the polls in 2022. They lacked the support of the state's Native American tribes. Another effort to get a pair of ballot items passed in 2024 was mercifully ended in January, as it did not have the support of the Native American tribes, either.

"To go back and do another ballot referendum without the Tribes buying in is a fool's errand," long-time gaming lobbyist Bill Pascrell III told bookies.com. Given the amount of money at stake for both the state and the books themselves, the push will continue. But don't expect live, legal, online sports betting in California for several years. 

Texas: Off The Board

A bill to legalize Texas betting apps cleared the full House in 2023 but died in the Senate. Again, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick refused to bring any bill to the floor of the Senate because it lacked enough votes to pass with solely Republican support. 

Legalizing sports betting in Texas requires a constitutional amendment, which is why a two-thirds majority vote and a ballot vote in the November following its passage is necessary.

Texas legislators meet every two years, so Texas sports betting won't be up for discussion again until 2025. A similar effort to legalize sports betting in Texas fell short in 2021. 

Sports betting in Texas got a significant boost when a group including the Adelson family of Las Vegas gaming fame purchased a controlling interest in the NBA's Dallas Mavericks

The NBA, MLB, NHL, and NBA teams in Texas, along with the PGA Tour, NASCAR, and several other entities formed the Texas Sports Betting Alliance to combine their efforts to get betting up and running in the Lone Star State.

If Texas does allow sports betting, it would become the largest state in the nation to do so with 29.53 million people. Currently, Florida is the most populous state that has sports betting with 21.78 million people. 

 

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About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.