West Virginia Wants To Legalize Sports Betting; DFS Bats .500 In State Legislatures

Written By Steve Ruddock on March 3, 2017 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
West VA sports betting

There was a recent flurry of activity when it came to sports betting and daily fantasy sports.

Over the past week:

  • Rhode Island introduced a daily fantasy sports bill.
  • The Mississippi legislature passed a bill that “enhances” the DFS legislation they passed last year.
  • West Virginia introduced a sports betting legalization bill.

And that’s just the big news.

Here’s a look at all of the developments on the sports betting and DFS fronts.

DFS legislation update

Rhode Island was the latest state to enter into the DFS arena.

This week, Rhode Island Assemblymembers Jared Nunes and Alex Marszalkowski introduced a bill, H 5793, that would legalize and regulate the activity in the tiny state.

The number of states that have introduced DFS legislation in 2017 now stands at 23 – nearly half the country:

  1. Alabama
  2. Connecticut
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Hawaii
  6. Illinois
  7. Indiana
  8. Iowa
  9. Kentucky
  10. Minnesota
  11. Mississippi
  12. Missouri
  13. Montana
  14. Nebraska
  15. New Jersey
  16. New Hampshire
  17. Oregon
  18. Pennsylvania
  19. Rhode Island
  20. Tennessee
  21. Texas
  22. Vermont
  23. Washington

Legal Sports Report’s legislative tracker has up-to-the-minute updates on all DFS legislation.

Kentucky swings and misses

In a very close vote, Kentucky’s efforts to legalize and regulate DFS came up short in the House of Representatives.

Mississippi replaces 2016 placeholder law with more robust DFS legislation

Mississippi passed what can best be called a placeholder DFS bill in 2016, and this week the legislature filled in a lot of the details when they passed a more robust piece of DFS legislation.

Among other new elements, the new bill requires licensing fees and taxes the industry as well as giving greater oversight to state regulators.

The bill still needs the signature of Gov. Phil Bryant before becoming law.

Sports betting legislation update

West Virginia is the latest state to throw its hat into the sports betting ring, and it’s safe to say we are now progressing towards a tipping point where the issue can no longer be ignored at the federal level.

West Virginia’s sports betting bill falls into the New Jersey camp, as it’s a direct challenge to PASPA.

With the addition of West Virginia, the number of states that have taken up the cause to repeal PASPA, or pre-committing to legalizing sports betting should federal laws change, stands at eight:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Maryland
  3. Michigan
  4. New Jersey
  5. New York
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Carolina
  8. West Virginia

US sports betting resolution referred to committee

In February, New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo introduced a resolution that would provide states with a window (January 2017 to January 2021) to legalize sports betting and not run afoul of federal law.

The resolution, HR 783, was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on March 2.

Maryland hearing

Maryland held an informational hearing on sports betting on Wednesday where there was talk of creating a task force to study sports betting in order to make sure the state is prepared to offer it should things change at the federal level.

CEI latest group to oppose federal sports betting ban

A libertarian think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is the latest group to question the wisdom of the current federal law (PASPA) that prevents states from legalizing sports betting within their borders.

CEI’s full report can be found here.

Image credit: Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock is a veteran of the gambling industry, having been a longtime contributor to numerous publications both online and off centered on the regulated US online gambling industry. Steve is based in Massachusetts.

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