US Sports Betting Legislation Updates: WA, MD, LA, FL

  • Three more tribes in Washington got their sports betting compacts approved
  • Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission is now accepting sports betting license applications
  • Hurricane Ida has caused delays to the issuance of sports betting licenses in Louisiana
  • Opponents of the planned launch of sports betting in Florida have filed further legal action
Judge writing notes
There have been significant developments with sports betting legislation and licensing in Louisiana, Maryland, Washington, and Florida this week. [Image:]

All go across the country

It has been a busy week for sports betting legislation across the United States. Three more tribes in Washington State have gotten approval to offer sports betting after the Department of the Interior approved their compacts. A dozen tribes can now operate sports betting in the state. The three latest tribes to join this list are the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Shoalwater Bay Tribe, and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. They were able to start accepting sports bets on September 15 at their casinos.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission has started accepting certain types of sports betting license applications. This means that the 17 locations that were named in the state’s sports betting legislation can start applying as of September 14.

vetting of applications was put on pause because of the hurricane

Hurricane Ida has caused delays to the issuance of sports betting licenses in Louisiana. Eight operators have submitted applications for licenses according to State Police Major Chuck McNeal during the Louisiana Gaming Control Board meeting on Thursday. There is still no concrete launch date for the sector as the vetting of applications was put on pause because of the hurricane.

There has been a lot of opposition to Florida’s plans to rollout legal sports betting. The legal attempts to put a stop to a potential fall launch of wagering in the state made progress on Tuesday as a result of new filings. The lawyers for West Flagler Associates submitted their response to Governor Ron DeSantis’ motion to dismiss, as well as the motion to intervene in the case by the Seminole Tribe.

Up and running in Washington State

In Washington State, the dozen tribes that have gotten approval for their sports betting compacts have to also get a license from the Washington State Gambling Commission before they can launch their sportsbooks. The first legal sports bet in the state was made by the Seattle Supersonics legend Shawn Kemp on September 9 at the Snoqualmie Casino.

Other tribes have plans to launch their sports betting offerings in the coming weeks. Four more tribes are awaiting approval for their own sports betting compacts, with approval expected in the near future.

Currently, only tribal casinos can offer sports betting in Washington. There is bipartisan support for legislation, however, that would allow private operators to enter the sports betting market.

The Washington State Gambling Commission has also come to a tentative agreement regarding an amendment to the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s Class III gaming compact. This would see the inclusion of new provisions that are not part of other tribal gaming compacts. There are ten major changes in total as part of this amendment, including certain defined betting limits and the number of slots and table games allowed at the tribe’s casino.

Many licenses up for grabs in Maryland

In Maryland, the 17 approved locations are able to apply for retail sports betting licenses through the gaming regulator’s website. As part of the state’s sports betting legislation, over 100 additional sports betting licenses could be up for grabs. There will be online sports betting licenses available, but this application process has not yet begun. Sports franchises that have a stadium in Maryland can qualify for a sports betting license.

notable locations are MGM National Harbor, M&T Bank Stadium, and the Horseshoe Casino

The 17 venues that are able to start applying for retail licenses include horse racing tracks, casinos, bingo halls, and off-track betting facilities. Some of the more notable locations are MGM National Harbor, M&T Bank Stadium, and the Horseshoe Casino. Once an operator receives a license, they will be able to start accepting retail sports bets. Online sportsbook operators will be able to partner with Class A and Class B license holders.

Indications about potential operators in Louisiana

Louisiana State Police Major Chuck McNeal did not reveal any details about the eight operators that have applied for sports betting licenses, but he did note that the majority of the applications came from gaming operators that already have a presence in Louisiana. Therefore, it appears that the likes of BallyBet, Caesars, Barstool Sportsbook, and TwinSpires could be among the applicants as their parent companies have operations in Louisiana.

In total, 20 retail and online sports betting licenses are going to be up for grabs. Officials are still hoping that sportsbooks will be open before the end of 2021. The state police are in charge of the application process.

Opposition in Florida

The plaintiffs in opposition to the rollout of sports betting in Florida are Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation and West Flagler Associates. They are arguing that the governor’s compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida is an “ultra vires” act. This means that it is something to which the governor did not have the power to agree.

The plaintiffs argue that the compact’s provisions for off-reservation sports betting are in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, in addition to other constitutional provisions and federal laws.

As part of the compact, the Seminole Tribe is able to start accepting bets as soon as October 15. However, the tribe has not yet made an announcement about its planned launch and the legal opposition could cause some delays.  

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