Mobile sports betting booming in some states while others falter – Fayetteville Flyer
The stakes are higher in Ohio this year for March Madness — and not just because it’s a regional host for the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
For the first time, sports fans in Ohio can click on a mobile app or access kiosks in bars, restaurants or grocery stores and legally bet on the famous tournament.
Kansas, Massachusetts and Maryland are also new additions to the world of online sports betting since the last NCAA tournament. A total of 33 states and the District of Columbia now offer at least one form of sports betting – each rushing to get shares of a multibillion-dollar company that grew rapidly after the US Supreme Court United allowed it almost five years ago.
Ohio got off to a flying start when it launched sports betting in January. In its first month, bettors in Ohio wagered more than $1.1 billion, generating more than $20 million in tax revenue for the state. That nearly tripled the amount of revenue that legislative analysts had forecast for the entire first six months of operation. But no one blames them for missing the boat.
“They couldn’t have known what market size we were going to have on day one,” said Jessica Franks, director of communications at the Ohio Casino Control Board.
While some states started with limited in-person sports betting and gradually added mobile apps, Ohio started more aggressively, launching numerous mobile options and outlets simultaneously. Republican Governor Mike DeWine is now proposing to double the tax rate on sports betting.
New York began allowing sports betting in 2019, but only in person at four upstate casinos, limiting the market. Betting exploded when the state began allowing people to place sports bets via cellphones and computers in January 2022. In the first month, more than $1.6 billion was wagered via betting online sports betting, compared to just $15 million via in-person sports betting at casinos. .
New York charges a 51% tax on mobile sports betting revenue – a far higher rate than other states – with most revenue going to education. Budget officials originally projected that mobile sports betting would generate $357 million in tax revenue for fiscal year 2023, which ends March 31. The punters have swept it all away. Through February, mobile sports betting had generated $661 million in education tax revenue.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., who advocated for sports betting as chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Betting Committee, said he was even amazed at the results.
“There’s definitely an appetite for doing sports betting with a mobile device,” Addabbo said.
Both New York and Ohio have large populations and several professional sports teams to help generate interest in sports betting.
Arkansas, a much smaller state with no major league sports teams, started in-person sports betting at casinos in July 2019. Things really took off last year when it launched mobile sports betting. State figures show nearly $3 million has been wagered on this year’s Super Bowl, more than three times the annual amount before mobile betting was allowed.
State officials expect residents of neighboring states to drive through Arkansas to wager on March Madness.
“We will be surprised if March doesn’t set a new monthly record for sports betting in the state,” said Scott Hardin, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
Other states also exceeded expectations for sports betting revenue.
Indiana’s sports betting taxes topped $31 million in fiscal year 2022, well above the $12 million projection when lawmakers authorized it in 2019. New Hampshire’s nearly $24 million in sports betting easily doubled its original fiscal year 2022 projection.
But not all states are making as much money as expected from sports betting.
Legislative analysts in Montana, which only allows sports betting from online networks in bars and casinos, had forecast that $79 million in wagers would be initiated in the previous fiscal year, generating 4, $8 million in tax revenue for the state. The actual results were about half that amount — $2.4 million in state tax revenue from about $45 million in sports betting.
Connecticut received less than $20 million in sports betting taxes in the first 16 months since betting began in October 2021. Legislative analysts had projected $21 million in its first full fiscal year.
Legal sports betting nationwide has generated more than $3 billion in state and federal taxes since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling, according to the American Gaming Association, the industry’s largest lobbying organization. It produces about three quarters of what one would possibly expect from a fully mature market.
The sports betting debate has shifted from “Is this something we should be considering?” to ‘How should we do this in a way that best serves our constituencies?’ said Casey Clark, Senior Vice President of the association.
Prospects for expanding sports betting into other states this year appear mixed.
A bill legalizing sports betting passed the Kentucky House and introduced in the Senate on Wednesday, but still faces a major hurdle. Similar bills have died in the Senate in the past, and this year’s version would require a three-fifths vote to pass.
Fans are also in another race for a sports betting bill in Minnesota and various other states.
In Missouri, attempts to license sports betting have bogged down in the Senate over whether to tie it in with regulations on slot-type games that have been popping up in convenience stores.
In Georgia, sports betting bills have stalled amid debate over whether a constitutional amendment is needed, how to spend potential tax revenue and whether to link sports betting the legalization of casinos and racetracks.
The three most populous states – California, Texas and Florida – all currently lack online sports betting. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which was given exclusive state rights to run sports betting, shut down its online app in December 2021 after federal courts ruled it broke a rule requiring people to be physically present on tribal lands when betting.
After the costliest election battle in US history, California voters last November rejected two rival sports betting initiatives backed by Native American tribes and the gambling industry. Fans are likely to try to again, although it’s unclear when that might happen.