Residents in Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, and Connecticut will have to wait a little while longer to place their bets, with each of the states unable to launch their betting markets in time for the first game of the NFL season on Thursday. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A big day for sportsbooks
The long wait is over. America’s favorite sport will finally return on Thursday evening with the first game of the NFL season. According to American Gaming Association CEO Bill Miller, 111 more US residents will have access to sports wagering in their home states this year.
In the build up to kickoff, several jurisdictions found themselves racing against the clock to launch sports betting in time. South Dakota, Arizona, and Washington all look set to meet that challenge by launching on the day of the first game. Others have not been quite so lucky.
Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, and Louisiana will all miss out on NFL betting
Despite their best efforts, the states of Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, and Louisiana will all miss out on NFL betting for the beginning of the season. Although each state intended to launch in time for the first game, they have all faced delays in one form or another. These range from legal challenges and on-going federal checks, to even the impact of Hurricane Ida.
With the new NFL season upon us, VegasSlotsOnline News has taken a look at the ongoing issues in each of these states.
Legal challenges in Florida
To legalize sports wagering, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a 30-year gaming compact deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida in May. This received US Department of Interior (DOI) approval three months later. However, two parimutuel operators are unhappy with the arrangement, and have filed lawsuits at a state and federal level to block the deal.
The Southwest Parimutuels-owned companies claim that the compact contravenes the Indian Gaming Regulation Act by allowing the Seminole to provide off-reservation wagering. They have filed lawsuits against the governor, the DOI, and its secretary.
In part as a result of these challenges, Florida residents will not have the chance to wager on the first games of the NFL season. If betting backers claim victory in court, Florida may get its first wagers next month. As reported by CBS 12 News, the state’s operators are now preparing to go live on October 15.
Hurricane Ida disrupts Louisiana betting
Last month, it looked like Louisiana might be on track to launch sports betting in time for the beginning of the NFL. The state’s gaming regulator unanimously approved an emergency revision to its sports betting regulations, permitting the temporary rules to go into effect for 180 days. This allowed casinos and racetracks to begin applying for licenses, with hope for a pre-NFL launch.
delayed the process by about ten business days
Hurricane Ida had other plans for the state. According to Louisiana Casino Association executive director Wade Duty, the hurricane has delayed the licensing process by about ten business days. This means sportsbooks won’t go live by the Thursday deadline, with the first temporary licenses expected to receive approval by the end of September instead.
Wade said casinos and racetracks will be the first venues to receive sports betting authorization. The state’s sports betting legislation, SB 142, sets a retail sportsbook tax of 10%, rising to 15% for online sportsbooks.
Maryland betting in the works
After Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed sports betting into law this year, he expressed doubt that the market could launch in time for the new NFL season. Although betting backers might have hoped Hogan was only providing a cautious estimation, state officials are still putting together the rules and regulations for Maryland wagering with the first game soon to begin.
As reported by FOX5, lawmakers only actually began developing the market’s rules in the summer. HB 940 allows ten licenses for state casinos, 30 class B retail licenses, and an additional 60 for online. However, officials still have to decide who can or can’t apply for the vast number of sports betting licenses.
Sportsbook operators in Maryland will pay a 15% tax on revenue, which will mainly go to public education. The fiscal note attached to the legislation has estimated that the market could generate between $17m and $19m per year between 2022 and 2026.
Speaking last month, Gov. Hogan said betting might not even happen until the end of the NFL season. “I pressed them pretty hard about making sure we get it done at least by the end of the football season when all the betting takes place – in the playoffs and the Super Bowl,” he commented.
Lamont waits for federal approval
In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont has campaigned for the introduction of sports betting since the beginning of the year. He finally got his way in May when he signed online and retail sports betting into law through HB 6451. Despite this, the state has fallen short of launching betting in time for the new NFL season.
didn’t anticipate a federal approval by the beginning of the season
Lawmakers are still awaiting the go-ahead from the DOI, which has to okay any tribal compact amendments in the US. Gov. Lamont told reporters earlier this week that he didn’t anticipate a federal approval by the beginning of the season, despite the state recently approving emergency betting regulations to lauch in time.
As soon as the DOI gives the green light, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe can begin offering sports wagering. Lawmakers have suggested it could be mid-October before this happens.