The month of April was enormous for sports betting legalization. Several states approved legislation to legalize the act, and many others are still in discussion. Arkansas has already legalized the act, but recently struck down any efforts to legalize placing bets on mobile or online. Rhode Island also has legalized sports betting and recently approved a bill to legalize mobile and online betting, but that action has warranted them a lawsuit. Here’s what each state is doing in regards to sports betting legalization!
Even though the state of Arkansas did their due diligence by discussing a mobile sports betting bill, it seemed fairly clear that the bill had no real chance of receiving approval. The bill, Senate Bill 669, received a vote this week and was denied with such reverence that the bill will never be discussed by the Senate again.
It seems like Senate Bill 669 never stand a good chance of passing considering the language included in the bill. Not only was the bill filed on April Fool’s Day, but it also had some unique and questionable exclusions. These would have made betting on events like the Special Olympics, dog shows, and even wrestling matches illegal.
In addition to the odd exclusions, the bill just made it too difficult for sportsbooks to actually generate any profit. Even though the bill proposed an integrity fee of 1%, that correlates to roughly a fifth of revenue earned from sports betting.
This is too high of a price when you consider that the bill called for a tax rate of 12.5% (13.5% for mobile). Because of these two costs, it makes it almost impossible for any licensed sportsbook to actually generate positive profit under the language of Senate Bill 669.
Although mobile sports betting has no chance for Arkansas, the activity is legalized at casinos in the state. There are currently two in operation, but more are very likely to appear in the rest of the year.
The state of Rhode Island has also legalized sports betting following the overturning of the federal ban. This certainly sparked controversy for lawmakers in the state, but it hit a frenzy this Wednesday when a lawsuit was filed against Rhode Island’s state lottery and other affiliated groups.
The lawsuit is largely spearheaded by Brandon Bell, a former member of the Rhode Island Republican Party Chair. Bell and his supporters’ claims are centered around the fact that the process used to legalize sports betting within the state was unconstitutional.
The reason why they feel this way is because the constitution of Rhode Island indicates that any law changes regarding gambling must be approved by public vote. The state of Rhode Island proceeded with legalization because of voting results made in 2012 and 2016 in regards to other gambling issues, saying these results indicated consent by default.
The lawsuit was prompted to action after Rhode Island also legalized online and mobile sports betting. It is unclear what the lawsuit will result in, but lawmakers will undoubtedly look to have the lawsuit dismissed. If the lawsuit doesn’t result in any action, mobile sports betting should be available in 6 months within Rhode Island.