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  • 2022 is shaping up to be another historic sports betting year after 2021 brought an over 30% increase in states offering legal sports betting and record revenues across the U.S.
  • Several states, including California, Georgia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina are likely to pass legal sports betting legislation in 2022.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sports betting in the United States underwent a dramatic transformation in 2021, with nine total states legalizing some form of sports betting and 11 states launching in-person and/or online sports betting. These 11 jurisdictions make up one third of the 33 states in the union to begin offering legal sports betting in some fashion since the fall of PASPA in 2018.

States Likely To Legalize Sports Betting In 2022: California

Perhaps the most likely state to legalize and regulate sports betting in 2022 is California. Currently, there are four official sports betting ballot initiatives that have the potential to appear on the upcoming ballot. Of these four, just one proposal is set to appear on the ballot so far – this bill would allow for in-person sports betting only, which could be offered at California’s tribal facilities and horse tracks.

The remaining proposals would each allow for online sports betting in California – of these three proposals, two are still involved in the signature-gathering process and one is currently being reviewed by the state attorney general.

Having multiple sports betting proposals in play may hurt California’s chances of successfully legalizing and regulating sports betting, however – if multiple sports betting initiatives reach the ballot, it could confuse voters and divide the vote.

With this in mind, industry experts have been keeping an eye on one particular proposal: the Age-Verified Tribal Online and In-Person Sports Wagering and Homelessness Solutions Act. This initiative is thought to be the best chance to get both commercial sportsbooks and tribal entities on the same page.

Georgia Sports Betting May Come In 2022

Another state that is likely to legalize and regulate sports betting in the coming year is Georgia.

In 2021, there was a sports betting bill being considered; however, Democrats killed the bill in a dispute over a voting rights bill. While this was certainly bad news for legal sports betting in Georgia, it is far from the end of the road.

Sports betting has broad bipartisan support in the Georgia legislature; moreover, Georgia’s professional sports teams have advocated for a regulated legal sports betting industry in the state.

Industry experts and Georgia lawmakers are optimistic that a sports betting bill could cross the finish line in 2022.

Massachusetts May Finally Launch Sports Betting

Massachusetts is another state that is considered a possibility to pass legal sports betting legislation in 2022. Home to one of the largest commercial domestic sportsbooks in the industry – DraftKings – Massachusetts has long been expected to regulate and legalize sports betting in the state. This is especially true considering each of Massachusetts’ bordering states now offer a legal sports betting industry of their own.

However, legislators have been unable to find a middle ground, and legislation has failed to gain traction. It is very possible that lawmakers finally create a legal sports betting industry in Massachusetts in 2022 with pressure mounting from politicians and voters alike.

North Carolina Sports Betting Bill Currently In House

North Carolina may expand their legal sports betting industry in 2022. Currently, legal sports betting in North Carolina is only available in-person at two tribal casinos.

However, in November, a sports betting bill – SB 688, which would allow for state-wide online and in-person wagering – was passed by the North Carolina Senate. It is now under review by the state House of Representatives and will be considered during the 2022 session.

There is support for sports betting legislation on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of the legislature, making it quite likely for the bill to cross the finish line in 2022.

What Is Going On With Florida And Mississippi?

Two states are currently stuck in sports betting limbo: Florida and Mississippi. Florida legalized and regulated sports betting when Governor Ron DeSantis signed an updated tribal gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

As a result, the Seminole Tribe launched the Seminole Hard Rock Sportsbook app in November; however, later that month, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the updated gaming compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and was therefore null and void.

Subsequently, the Seminole Tribe was forced to close their Seminole Hard Rock Sportsbook app in Florida.

Since then, the Seminole Tribe has attempted a variety of maneuvers, legal and otherwise. The first of these was a request for a stay, which was summarily denied by Friedrich.

The next move the Seminole Tribe made was to file for an appeal, which is in progress. Since it will take some time for the appeals process, Florida will likely be without sports betting in 2022.

The only other option to allow for legal sports betting in Florida would be through a ballot initiative, like the one backed by Florida Education Champions – unfortunately, this initiative is about 600,000 verified signatures short of the amount required for the initiative to appear on the ballot.

This may be a result of relentless anti-signature gathering efforts allegedly conducted by the Seminole Tribe.

Mississippi – which launched retail sports betting in 2018 – has been attempting to legalize online sports betting for the last two years without success.

Legislators were working on a sports betting bill in November, but it has not been officially filed yet.

With 2022 being an election year, it is unlikely any sort of controversial bill (like sports betting) will gain much traction, making it unlikely an online Mississippi legal sports betting bill crosses the finish line in 2022.

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