There are several contests in the upcoming US midterm elections that might have a significant impact on the future of gaming and sports betting regulation. As a watcher of the states, Paul Girvan recommends the following.
The midterm elections in the United States in 2022 are crucial in many ways, but gambling regulation is not one of them.
Rather, they provide a chance to remove a sore throat that has been making political progress toward broader gaming legislation, such as sports betting legislation or casino regulation, more difficult than it has to be.
So far, only two states, California and Georgia, have had gaming-related issues on the ballot.
The state of California is one of the highest potential states for the industry of online casinos, although online gambling has not been properly legalized and turned into a regulated market yet. Players at this moment may wager on any real money online casino in California that is provided and regulated from offshore markets until a locally regulated market as a whole becomes accessible in the near future.
Proposals 26 and 27 on California’s statewide ballot gauge voter support for constitutional amendments.
As of 2018, sports betting may be conducted legally in California at four-horse racetracks and at Native American-owned casinos, according to Proposition 26. The majority of tribes and tracks agree with the ballot initiative.
Furthermore, it also opens the door for tribal casinos to offer roulette and dice games, as well as other fun games to try out which are popular amongst casinos. This availability has led to a big growth in establishments from all over the world that offer games to play from the comfort of anyone’s own home from within the Golden State.
This is also a great option for those who want to learn more before jumping into playing directly from a brick-and-mortar casino. Conversely, Proposition 27 seeks to provide commercial gaming corporations and tribes access to sports betting at retail locations and via mobile devices.
The Native American community is strongly opposed to Proposition 27 because they believe it threatens the gaming monopoly the states have granted them through compacts. Many new organizations have arisen to advocate for or against these initiatives as spending on them approaches $500 million (£435.6 million or €500 million).
Voter confusion and disinterest have emerged from so many conflicting signals and so few substantial endorsements from editorial boards.
Only 31% of voters are all in favor of Proposition 26, while 42% are opposed; only 27% are all in favor of Proposition 27, while 53% are opposed.
This further demonstrates the need of having widespread support among the gaming industry’s advocates if reforms are to take effect. Disjointed communication signals the end.
None of the other states’ midterm ballots include any fresh gaming legislation. In Georgia, though, the close gubernatorial contest has become a stand-in.
For decades, Georgians have debated whether to modify the state constitution to legalize casino resorts. Over the past several years, people’s attention has shifted to betting on sporting events.
In spite of several attempts, sports betting remains illegal. Former governor Nathan Deal and the former secretary of state Brian Kemp both came out strongly against casino resort legislation.
As governor, Kemp has hedged by indicating he is willing to engage with lawmakers on sports betting if they chose to move forward with the issue.
Stacey Abrams, Kemp’s Democratic opponent for governor, has said she backs a casino resort bill and sports betting legislation.
A Democratic Candidate Who Supports The Growth Of Gaming
Abrams has acknowledged the widespread support for both proposals among voters. Abrams thinks this topic might give her the edge in the close contest for governor.
Polling shows that 57% of voters favor sports betting, while 64% favor casino resort gambling, so she may be on to something. In the event of an Abrams victory, Georgia may see the introduction of sports betting and the construction of casino resorts.
However, in both circumstances, it is necessary to overcome resistance from conservative MPs. Not even if Abrams wins the election will one of them happen soon.
It would still be necessary for legislation to be approved in order to submit the question of an amendment to the constitution to the people. This vote at the polls would need to pass, and enabling legislation would need to be drafted.
The anti-gaming lobby must be defeated at every turn. Sports betting is not expected to become legal until at least 2025, and it will be at least another several years (best case 2027) before any casino resort opens its doors.
In 2023 and beyond, sports betting will once again be a hot topic. The midterm elections in 2022, however, are more of a marker than a deciding factor, clearing the decks of political worries and allowing legislators to focus on the topic at hand.
Possibly the most important event marker will show up in the Lone Star State of Texas. Governor Greg Abbot’s (who is up for re-election in 2022) seeming willingness to back casino projects is reflective of a confluence of events.
The first is that the idea of legalized casino gambling has been tossed around in Texas for decades. As could be expected in such a very conservative state, the proposal has been met with organized resistance. However, there has been a shift in public opinion, with 57% of Americans now in favor of casino gambling and 43% in favor of sports betting.
Second, Texans are aware that if they want to gamble, they will have to drive to Louisiana or Oklahoma, where their money will contribute to the local economies by way of taxes.
Third, several major sports teams in Texas have spoken out in favor of legalizing sports betting because of the state’s clear passion for sports and the revenue it may bring in.
Attempts By Sands To Open Casinos In Texas
Last but not least, the Sands Corporation is devoting $2 million in 2022 to pushing the Texas legislature to adopt gaming legislation thru the Texas Sand PAC. Abbott, the anticipated victor in the gubernatorial election, has said he is open to the idea of casino resorts, but this is by no means a sure thing.
Similar to the situation in Georgia, a bill proposing a change to the constitution must be passed. The voters must approve the amendment and the legislature must ratify the gambling laws. All of this occurs in a very conservative region.
However, due to its size, Texas will get a lot of attention in 2023.
The results of the elections in the following states in 2022 may also have an impact on gaming policy in those states in 2023:
All 201 seats in the legislature, including all statewide posts, will be up for election this coming November. Several high-profile lawmakers have already said they won’t be running for another term, which may lead to significant changes in the chamber.
Tribes in Minnesota have a lot of sway over the gaming debate, and lawmakers would do well to win their support if they decide to legalize the industry. A tribe-backed sports betting measure passed the House in 2022. Unfortunately, the bill was killed in the Senate because of concerns that including racetracks as permitted operators would undermine tribal sovereignty.
Sixty-nine percent of Democrats, 58% of Republicans, and 81% of independents supported sports betting in early 2022, according to a survey.
Republicans have full control of both houses of Congress. A bipartisan measure, which faced resistance from anti-gambling groups in this traditionally conservative state, passed the House in 2022 but died in the Senate.
Thinking Ahead, Rather Than Reacting, To New Situations
Unless one of California’s propositions miraculously passes, it’s highly unlikely that the upcoming 2022 midterm elections will lead to a gradual increase in the adoption of gaming across the US.
Instead, the upcoming midterm elections will set the stage politically for sports betting’s continued spread in 2023 and beyond, albeit at a slower rate now that there are fewer easy wins to be had.