After New York Online Sports Betting Launches, All Eyes Will Be on These States in 2022

Author Image Article By
Last Updated: 
Share On Your Network
After New York Online Sports Betting Launches, All Eyes Will Be on These States in 2022
© USA Today

Note: This is part of a series of articles on what the sports betting landscape will look like in 2022.

The advance of sports gambling across America is seemingly inevitable with more than half the states already having legalized the practice of allowing sports fans to back their opinion with their wallets. In some cases, that’s only at actual bricks-and-mortar sportsbooks, usually in casinos. In other places, it’s only through online platforms. And in some places, it’s both.

However, what is becoming obvious is that for the sports betting industry, the low-hanging fruit has been plucked. The states that were champing at the bit before the U.S. Supreme Court greenlighted more widespread sports betting with its 2018 decision to repeal PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) have already launched sports wagering. The markets now left the gaming industry to cultivate are likely to be a tougher go.

RELATED: Eight Predictions for U.S. Sports Betting & Online Gambling in 2022

Here’s where sports wagering may be headed in 2022.

New York, New York

The New York sports betting storyline actually belongs in 2021. That was when the particulars of the state’s sports betting future was hammered out so it’s really only a matter of the calendar that online sports wagering won’t begin until this year.

To be clear, sports betting was operational in New York. It was just out-of-the-way for most New Yorkers operating in upstate tribal casinos with hybrid mobile betting available to patrons already inside the buildings. But, of course, it’s statewide online sports betting that really counts in moving the financial needle.

The New York ground rules are well-known by now. The largest sports wagering companies are operating in consortiums to go after New York customers. The tax rate is a sky-high 51%. The unknown is what the fallout will be from those ground rules.

For example, will the sportsbooks offer the same juicy promotional deals to capture and retain customers that they dangle in other jurisdiction, considering that tall tax rate? And if operators do continue to toss money around so freely, what will be the effect on company bottom lines that are already running heavy losses in some cases?

Then there’s the impact that New York’s mobile market will have on neighboring New Jersey’s handle, revenue and tax figures. The estimate has been that Jersey has gotten 20% of its sports gambling handle from New Yorkers, who now may keep their sports betting in-state. If that 20% diminishes significantly, New Jersey sports betting may cede its spot as the No. 1 sports gambling state to some other jurisdiction in 2022 — quite possibly even to New York or Nevada, which has put together months of $1 billion in sports wagering handle lately.

As sports fans who are itching to get some skin in the game have learned, there’s a big difference between sports gambling being legalized by a legislature or even via an election and sports gambling actually being launched. That’s especially true when it comes to online sports gambling, which is the favored way for most customers to get into action.

Maryland & Louisiana on Tap?

After New York, Maryland and Louisiana — where retail sports betting is already in full-swing — are two jurisdictions poised to offer online sports betting. Louisiana will happen sooner. Perhaps as early as this month, and certainly by the Super Bowl on Feb. 13. But this is Louisiana being discussed where time can stand still. Still brands like BetMGM Louisiana are getting ready to be available as soon as the state launches sports betting.

Maryland online sportsbooks going live is definitely further out. An added layer of licensing approval, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which evaluates how applicants hew to standards of ownership diversity, could delay the launch of online gaming and some applicants who are relatively new to regulatory scrutiny may also slow the process. So, approximating the launch of online sports gambling in Maryland is difficult, other than to say, it’ll be sometime in 2022.

RELATED: A closer look at states that could go live or legalize in 2022

Also assumed to be a 2022 online launch is Arkansas. In-person sports betting is already allowed in the state but the sailing may not be so smooth for Arkansas online sports betting. A rule that mandates a certain percentage of revenue (51%) stay with in-state casinos has riled national bookmakers. On the surface, Arkansas appears to be on the cusp of flipping the switch for online in time for the Super Bowl on Feb. 13 but the skirmish over the revenue sharing may hold it up.

Another possible 2022 launch state is Ohio. To be sure, Ohio sports betting is legal — Gov. Mike DeWine signed the legislation just before Christmas — but setting regulations has at least one Ohio legislator talking in terms Jan. 1, 2023 as the most distant end zone. That would let the best Ohio online sportsbooks to go live in the market. So, figure late fall or early winter 2022 at the soonest for sports betting — both retail and online — in Ohio. Players will see top brands like BetMGM Ohio sportsbook going live just in time for NFL playoffs.

That’s it as far as for-sure launches of online sports gaming in 2022 but there will still be plenty of fireworks on the legalization front.

California & Florida Referendums?

California and Florida, because they’re the No. 1 and No. 3 largest states by population, are going to get a lot attention. They are similar in this regard: In both states, sports gambling may be settled by referendum. As a betting proposition, Florida might be a slight favorite to get to the finish line first, albeit at some distant future date.

A deal between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida in 2021 that would have allowed the Seminoles to dominate Florida sports betting (as well as expand gaming operations in their casinos) in exchange for billions shipped to the state government was undone by a federal court. Opposition came from all directions: In-state rivals, national bookmakers, and gambling opponents.

A petition drive backed by national sportsbooks and linked to helping public education has been generated (Florida Education Champions) so that voters might have a chance to vote on sports gambling in November 2022. The battles over petition signatures have been just the start of what promises to be an intriguing and expensive battle over sports wagering in Florida.

In California, there are a reported four petition efforts underway up that would allow voters to decide on sports gambling. California has always been a complicated battleground when it comes to gambling expansion with tribal casinos, commercial cardrooms and the horse racing industry frequently at odds. Among the California sports betting petition is still another one that’s promoted by the major national sportsbooks with an advertised tie-in to assisting in public-interest goals, in this case homelessness and mental health.

The sheer number of ballot proposals in California could work to sink all of them in November 2022 leaving the largest state in America with more than 39 million people (and the world’s fifth largest economy if it were a sovereign nation) out in the cold regarding sports wagering.

Perhaps more promising for 2022 are states that would require legislative action, rather than a vote, to move forward with sports gambling.

Other States That Could Legalize

Massachusetts and North Carolina have both shown signs of movement regarding online sports betting. In North Carolina, there is in-person sports gambling at tribal casinos. Massachusetts does have commercial casinos but no sports gambling.

In Massachusetts — coincidentally, the home of DraftKings — a bill legalizing sports betting was passed overwhelmingly by the state’s House of Representatives in 2021 but died in the state Senate. Gov. Charlie Baker supported the House bill and Boston’s popular sports teams support legalizing sports gambling.

So, broad support for sports gambling, the fact that state is surrounded by neighbors that have already done so, and plain common sense should mean Massachusetts is a “likely” for legalizing sports betting in 2022. However, there is talk (from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission) of further study on the topic, and that’s rarely a good sign. Hopefully, we'll get to see Massachusetts sportsbooks going live at some point in the future.

In North Carolina, it’s the state Senate that has approved online sports gambling legislation and that legislation should continue to wend its way through various committees in the state House of Representatives in 2022. In North Carolina, there is substantial headwind from anti-gambling factions and faith-based opponents that legislators hear from. Even North Carolina sports betting proponents, as they address their legislative colleagues, tread extremely carefully when discussing the topic. Legalization is always a possibility in North Carolina but it’s hard to tell when it happens.

Mississippi will be a state that’s watched in 2022. With a robust casino industry, Mississippi was one of the first states to launch retail sports betting after PASPA was repealed and it has some limited on-site mobile wagering. But so far, state-wide online sports betting has not happened although there is some legislative support and it should come up in 2022.

Missouri may also see legislative action on online sports betting and it also could go to the voters in that state. online sports betting in Kansas and Kentucky could also be a reality as momentum builds towards legalisation.

Author Image Article By
Last Updated: 
Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Linkedin Icon Email Icon Copy Link Icon