The sports betting market in the USA has blown up in the last few years. This was prompted by the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to strike down the PASPA Act and allow individual states to legislate sports betting.
Since then, 33 states plus the District of Columbia have chosen to head this route and open their doors to legal wagering on sports. As a result, the appetite for betting on games across the country has rocketed and allowed the industry to post impressive results. This can be seen in US sports betting revenue figures from 2018 to 2021. From just under half a billion dollars in 2018, revenue levels soared to $4.33bn in 2021.
This upward trajectory shows no signs of slowing down and it is in fact expected that more states will make this activity legal in 2023. But which states look most likely to do this in the next 12 months?
Many people expect the Lone Star state to make a real push for legalized sports betting in 2023. Expert Mike Lukas from respected sports betting website wsn.com commented that:
Texas is a state with a huge sports culture, and a large population – these factors make it primed for sports betting. It’s surprising legislation has been so slow if anything, considering the tax benefits it brings.
A similar sentiment is echoed by other experts. With teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Astros, the state really is one of the most voracious in the country when it comes to sporting appetite. But why else do people think it really could make this move in 2023?
One cause for optimism is the fact that 2021 saw a major drive to legalize this activity in Texas. Although none of the sports betting bills from 2021 were sanctioned, the biennial legislative session in Texas meant it was not possible to follow up on them further in 2022.
As a result, 2023 is the first chance there will be to find political agreement regarding sports betting in Texas, which could well happen. With broad support across all parties for sports wagering in the state, it could be an exciting year for the industry in Texas.
There was a time when people in Florida could legally bet on sports, but this only lasted about a month before a federal judge ruled the 2021 agreement between the Seminole Tribe and the state invalid. This decision is now making its way through the appeal process.
As well as a real public demand for legalized sports wagering, much of this rests on the new gaming agreements which both the Seminole Tribe and the Department of the Interior filed in 2022. It is expected that they will be discussed at a federal level in 2023 and a way to open up Florida’s sports betting market again found. The only issue is that these discussions might not take place until summer of 2023, which means sports bettors in the state might be waiting a while yet.
There was much hope within Georgia when attempts to push through legal sports betting in 2022 surfaced. Unfortunately, these efforts failed, and this set back any plans to open to sports betting by the Peach State.
It appears though that not all is lost, and state officials plan to open up the debate regarding this activity again in 2023. There is an ongoing ballot initiative to have Georgia open up to sports betting.
This only seems sensible when you consider the revenue this could bring into state coffers and the appetite for sports betting there seems to be from residents. With neighboring South Carolina also expected to propose legislation to allow sports betting soon, Georgia will also be eager not to be overshadowed.
Who will legalize sports betting next in 2023?
Many people would have expected to see California mentioned above, but the recent defeat of Proposition 26 to legalize sports betting in the state, and Proposition 27 to legalize mobile sports betting in California, has taken this off the table.
Maine and Nebraska both have legal frameworks in place, with Maine expected to launch mid-2023. Nebraska is ready to go, but still lacks a solid timeline, despite approval entering law back in June 2021.
As a result, it leaves the other states we have looked at as the ones which are most likely to legalize betting on sports in 2023. If states who have also been tinkering with this market, such as Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma, come to the fore in 2023 too, it could be a bumper year for sports wagering in the country.