It’s only a few weeks into the 2022 legislative session, yet there has already been a lot of movement that will determine market expansion – or lack thereof – throughout North America.
Even though major markets such as New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania have generated billion-dollar revenue figures, only seven states currently have legalized online casino gaming since 2013, while online sports betting has been legalized in 20 states since 2018.
Many industry experts were hopeful that Indiana would pass legislation this year after introducing House Bill 1337; but a key legislative deadline was missed, effectively killing the bill. Indiana boasted consensus among its land-based casino operators to expand online gaming after the implementation of sports betting in 2019. Lawmakers on the other hand were not as unified on the subject.
In Iowa, House Bill 604 likely faces an even bigger struggle given the Hawkeye State lacks support from several of its land-based operators and lawmakers are not sold on the idea either. Nevertheless, the bill was voted favorably in a subcommittee hearing on February 2.
Despite the lucrative opportunity, online casino gaming may bring, the lack of expansion demonstrates it still holds significant stigma and concern throughout the U.S. Without support from the public, lawmakers, and incumbent land-based operators, the expansion of online casino gaming will continue to lag significantly behind sports betting.
Sports betting legislation is pending in various states. Below we highlight some of the key developments that have happened at the time of writing.
The Arkansas Racing Commission adopted a set of regulations on December 30, 2021, to authorize online sports betting in the state. The rules were finalized on February 22, 2022 by the legislature’s joint budget committee. The rules allow each of the state’s three casino licensees to partner with up to two mobile sports-betting operators. Land-based operators will receive 51 percent net revenue share. The state is expected to go live by the time March Madness begins.
A ballot initiative to establish a competitive online sports-betting market failed to meet necessary requirements in the Sunshine State on February 1. With no ballot initiative, the sports betting market remains the same – nonexistent – until the legal challenge regarding the Seminole Tribe is resolved or a new ballot initiative is approved for 2024, whichever may come first.
While Mississippi has had land-based sports betting since 2018, this is the fourth year in a row that the state legislature could not garner support to pass online sports betting legislation. The bill failed to meet a key legislative deadline and is now considered dead.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission is hard at work drafting proposed regulations. Three batches of rules have been published to date and will be updated as the commission progresses. To become final, the rules must be filed with the state’s Common Sense Initiative (“CSI”) and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, as well as undergo a public hearing and comment period. The commission has stated it expects final rule adoption by Summer or Fall 2022.
On February 7, the Senate passed a constitutional resolution that would give voters the option to approve state-wide online sports betting this November. Currently, sports betting is only permitted in licensed gaming establishments that are in the city of Deadwood. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives to seek final approval. If passed, the legislation would not need to be signed by the governor and will appear on the November ballot.
For more information about Sports Betting in North America, check out our Guide to Sports Betting and Gaming Regulation.
Ontario’s Launch Date
On January 28, the provincial government of Ontario announced that private operators that have registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) and iGaming Ontario (iGO), a subsidiary of the AGCO, can begin offering their services to players on April 4, 2022. Companies will operate online gaming sites in the market on behalf of the province in accordance with these agreements.
However, the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) has stated they plan to launch a legal challenge to the online gaming market, alleging it violates First Nations’ constitutional rights. Additionally, the Great Canadian Gaming Corp., one of Canada’s largest land-based operators, has also spoken against the provincial government’s regulatory framework.
Any legal challenge filed against the provincial government could potentially cause a delay in the April launch. Time will tell.
Trustly’s License Status and Legislative Tracker
*In addition to sports betting, Trustly is also licensed/permitted for iGaming in CT, MI, NJ, NV, PA, and WV.
**Trustly is also pending application/approval in Puerto Rico.
*** Legislation to expand existing sports betting and/or iGaming frameworks is pending in Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, Washington, and South Dakota.
Stay tuned to the Trustly blog for more regulatory updates!