Casino and Sports Betting Measures Approved by Voters in Six US States

  • Nebraska, Colorado, and Virginia residents approved casino-related measures on Tuesday
  • Louisiana, South Dakota, and Maryland voted in favor of legalizing sports betting
  • Sports betting specifics in each state will be discussed during 2021 legislative sessions
  • Colorado gaming towns will have the option to raise single-bet limits and add casino games
  • Casinos will be allowed at Nebraska racetracks and can open in four Virginia cities
Woman wearing a protective mask placing a ballot in a ballot box
During the US elections on Tuesday, residents of three states voted in favor of casino gambling expansion and voters in another three states opted to legalize sports betting. [Image:]

Future gaming options

While the battle for the United States presidency has been taking center stage this week, voters approved gambling expansion measures in a number of states on November 3.

overwhelmingly approved the legalization of sports betting

Colorado, Nebraska, and Virginia citizens approved proposals relating to the allowance of casinos and the expansion of the current gaming options in their respective regions. Maryland, South Dakota, and Louisiana voters also overwhelmingly approved the legalization of sports betting. Each of the state legislatures will decide upon their respective frameworks for sports betting when they meet next year.

In Colorado, gaming towns will now be able to increase the limits on single bets and add new casino games. Virginia gave the green light for the development of casinos in four cities, while three initiatives got approval in Nebraska to allow casino gaming at licensed horse tracks.

Casino gaming expansion

Voters in Colorado convincingly passed Amendment 77 with almost 60% of the vote so far. This paves the way for the state’s casinos to raise the single-bet limit from $100. These facilities will also be able to offer more casino games, with the current options only being poker, roulette, craps, blackjack, and slots. There will be further elections taking place in Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City to decide on the higher single-bet limit and new game additions at their local casinos.

estimate new tax revenue of about $65m each year from casino operations

In Nebraska, Initiatives 429, 430, and 431 all were on track to get approval from the majority of state residents. These measures legalize casino gambling at licensed horse racing tracks, create a state regulatory body to license these casinos, and establish a 20% tax on gross gaming revenue. Proponents of the referendums estimate new tax revenue of about $65m each year from casino operations.

Finally, residents in the Virginia cities of Portsmouth, Norfolk, Danville, and Bristol all comprehensively voted in favor of allowing casinos in their cities. Residents in Richmond will vote on the issue at a later date. 

Sports betting progress

Sports betting was also on the agenda for voters in three states. There was no problem in Maryland for voters to approve the activity. The legalization of the sector will see the resulting tax revenue going to fund education programs in the state. The ballot measure was a simple yes or no question, with no specifics given about the makeup of sports betting in the state or the tax rates. Those matters will be looked at when the state legislature meets in January. 

Of the 64 parishes in Louisiana, 55 approved sports betting on the Tuesday ballot. Similar to Maryland’s, the ballot question was a straightforward yes or no question for legalization. The state legislature will not convene until April 2021, with the details of sports betting set for discussion then. 

Finally, Constitutional Amendment B in South Dakota got approval with over 58% of votes. This allows retail sports betting in Deadwood and tribal reservations from July 1 next year, with the specifics up for debate in the next legislative meeting.

AGA applauds successful ballot measures

In a statement issued after Tuesday’s election results, American Gaming Association (AGA) president and CEO Bill Miller welcomed the gaming measures’ success.

He said gaming expansion will give “access to much needed job opportunities, dedicated tax revenue, and safe, regulated entertainment options closer to home.” Miller added that the AGA will continue shaping gambling industry policy in collaboration with Washington, D.C. legislators.

The president of the association also pushed for much-needed “critical relief” to aid the industry’s recovery amid the ongoing pandemic.

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