As the 2021 legislative sessions for states begin to get underway, the rush to file gambling legislation continues as three more states filed sports betting bills.
Mississippi, Massachusetts and Minnesota all filed bills over the last few days that would either legalize or expand sports betting within their respective borders.
Mississippi already has legal sports betting, but Sen. Philip Moran wants citizens of the state to be able to bet online and not just as the brick-and-mortar locations. Moran filed SB 2732, which would allow online sportsbooks in the state.
“Every day millions of Americans in 15 states have access to start-of-the-art mobile sportsbooks, allowing them to place bets on their favorite teams and leagues at home while fostering much-needed tax revenue,” said Moran in a statement. “Unfortunately, Mississippi law does not authorize online sports betting, but this bill seeks to change that.”
Moran told a local NBC affiliate that its neighbor to the north, Tennessee, launched its online-only sports betting market in November and generated $2.3 million in tax revenue in the first month.
In Massachusetts, Sen. Brendan Crighton reintroduced a bill that died in the legislature last year. In an effort to persuade his fellow lawmakers, Crighton uses the common argument that citizens of the state will just use black market sportsbooks if the legislature keeps it illegal.
His bill would only allow for in-person betting at the state’s casinos and would set the age restriction at 21. The state would tax revenues at 15 percent and charge a licensing fee of $10 million, which is renewable every five years for $1.25 million.
In Minnesota, a bipartisan bill was introduced with Republican Rep. Patrick Garofalo and Democratic Sen. Karla Bigham sponsoring it.
Both Massachusetts and Minnesota have two neighboring states that already offer it. Rhode Island and New Hampshire legalized the activity already, as did South Dakota and Iowa.
There are now at least seven states with sports betting aspirations in 2021. New York is looking like it will also expand sports betting to mobile/online, while legislators in Arizona, Kentucky, Florida and Georgia filed legislation to legalize it.