The US States Still Waiting For Their Sports Betting Millions

  • The lure of sports betting revenue is sparking legalization debates across the USA
  • But the promise of millions in tax revenue falls short
  • 27 States have submitted new bills in 2019 so far
The missing millions. Are states really raking it in from sports betting?
The missing millions. Are states really raking it in from sports betting?

In May 2018 the US Supreme Court laid the groundwork for sports betting. While financial success was the main driver, states across America are yet to benefit fully according to a recent report by Associated Press. So, which states are the winners and losers of the sports betting divide?

Still in the running

In New York lawmakers have pushed to legalize mobile sports betting as part of the state’s budget legislation. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo and other Democrats strongly opposed the idea and didn’t include it in the final budget. Supporters argued that it could bring in an estimated $90m in revenue for the state.

The Montana House is strongly in favor of approving the legislation that would see sports betting legalized. The state lottery would be in charge of issuing the licenses. The state Senate submitted a separate bill that would place the Montana department of justice in charge of regulating sports betting. Both proposals are still pending approval.

In March, a state legislator for Louisiana filed a bill that would allow parishes to vote individually for the legalization of sports betting. It has been estimated that revenue for the state could increase to $40m (a $20m rise) if the bill is approved.

More than 27 other states are considering legalizing sports betting with the hope that it would raise millions in tax revenue. But does the promise of huge revenue amounts turn out to be as accurate as predicted?

Huge swings between red and black

New Jersey has seen huge success from legal sports betting. On average the state received $1.8m per month in taxes from sportsbooks for the months of July through February. It is said that mobile sports betting is fueling the industry.

It’s another story in Delaware, where tax revenue from sports betting dropped drastically at the start of the year. The state saw a huge decrease from $1.4m in January to a measly $22,000 in February.

The trend continues. Rhode Island is the only place in New England that has legalized sports betting so far. The state is expected to generate more than $1m a month in revenue for its state budget, with a 51% tax on sportsbook proceeds. Although the figures look fantastic the actual revenue is only roughly $50,000 a month.

Unfortunately for West Virginia, it is taking just a quarter of the monthly revenue it had anticipated. It’s very much a similar story for Mississippi and Pennsylvania – these states are bringing in just half the projected tax revenues.

Race to legalize sports betting continues

Still, despite these early forecasts the demand for sports betting increases. In 2018 alone, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Mississippi, West Virginia, and New Mexico allowed sportsbooks to open in casinos in their states.

It appears more are trying to follow suite, and indeed Tennessee has just announced success.

Already in 2019, 27 states have submitted bills in the hopes to legalize sports betting. For many, the promise of an increase in tax dollars – no matter the actual value – is enough.