Over-Under On States Passing Sports Betting Bills This Year? Six, Lobbyist Says

Posted By Dustin Gouker on May 4, 2018

Twitter is a great place for hot takes of all sorts, and that is just as true in the world of US sports betting regulation as anything else.

One common topic of debate: How many states are going to legalize sports wagering? Could we see as many as six in 2018? One lobbyist seems to think so.

Six states for sports betting?

This take came from a lobbyist for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe:

Six states seems aggressive, given that we’ve only seen one state — West Virginia — pass a law so far this year. But Kudon is no garden-variety lobbyist. He’s helped get laws passed in nearly 20 states in recent years as it relates to daily fantasy sports.

And Orrick is a part of the lobbying effort for sports betting on behalf of the NBA and Major League Baseball. So if he speaks, we listen.

How likely is 6?

If I am handicapping it, I am still betting the under on six, despite the weight that Kudon’s Twitter characters carry. Some of the states that seemed to have a good chance of passing something have run into speed bumps.

You can take a look at the legislative calendar so far for states that have at least broached the subject of sports betting. If we count WV and New Jersey — where a new bill popped — two states in 2018 seems like a no-brainer.

Several states seem like they will continue to consider the issue into the summer, including possibly Michigan and Illinois. But forecasting more than a handful of states with new laws seems difficult to do with the information we have right now.

All of this, of course, assumes New Jersey wins the Supreme Court sports betting case, in which a decision is pending. Some states appear to be waiting for a decision to come before they really start the discussion. And if that decision doesn’t come until the end of June, it shortens the calendar even more for legislatures trying to act.

And so we wait for sports betting…

The next time a decision could come from the Supreme Court is May 14.

The good news is time is getting short. In less than two months, we’ll definitely know the answer one way or another. And until then, we’ll keep guessing at what the court will rule and which states will legalize it.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. You can also find his work at Legal Sports Report.

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