Sports betting and casino expansion is set to be legalised in Nebraska, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, South Dakota and Virginia
The gaming industry is awaiting the results of ballot referendums, which could see positive outcomes in six states. The referendums will determine the legalisation of sports betting and casino expansion within those states.
The only state stopping a clean sweep is Nebraska , which is plagued with several casino gaming issues in relation to the racetrack industry.
Truist Securities gaming analyst, Barry Jonas, and Global Markets Advisors Director of Government Affairs, Brendan Bussmann, held discussions in relation to the gaming ballot sphere with various investors last month. Jonas outlined, within a research note covering the ballot question,
that the expansion of sports betting into Louisiana, South Dakota and Maryland are most certain to go through along with the legalisation of four casinos in four Virginia communities. A measure introduced by the state of Colorado would permit the states three casino communities to increase certain offerings whilst also removing a single wager limit.
Furthermore, Nebraska’s three initiatives - 429, 430, and 431 - would amend the state’s constitution to permit casino games categorized as “games of chance” at licensed racetracks, adopt a regulatory agency of gaming and authorize a 20% gaming tax on new casino revenues. It was also mentioned by Bussmann that such a definition of “games of chance” could lead the way to racetracks being allowed to add sports betting as part of their offerings. This is something that the Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, and billionaire Warren Buffet are strongly against. Moreover, Bussmann foresees that the measures will be approved narrowly by voters however, “complex issues should not be handled through the initiative process.”
As current polling policies are mixed, Bussmann referred to the referendums as “the most flawed policy proposals ever put forward. It’s generally more efficient to take up the issue within the legislature.”
Jonas outlined that Penn National Gaming and Caesars Entertainment, which attracts customers from across the Missouri River to their casino outlets, could lose business if the referendums are approved.
The only close call envisioned is the South Dakota’s sports betting referendum as stated by Bussmann and Jonas. They also outlined that measures of support got a late start due to COVID-19 issues.
Additionally, state casinos situated in Deadwood have been shut as a result of the pandemic. Bussmann continued to outline that the South Dakota issue will have the closest race of the sports betting referendums.
After the launch of Tennessee’s sports betting on Sunday, which brings the total of legal and regulated sports betting up to 19 states, a further three states; Virginia, North Carolina and Washington have approved the legalisation of such activity and are set to launch early next year.
In the meantime, should Louisiana, South Dakota and Maryland pass the sports betting referendums, this would mean that 50% of the states within the U.S would have sports betting legalised in less than three years since the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in favor of the activity.
Following the Nebraska issue, it can be noted that the following are gaming votes of interest for election day:
Jonas and Bussmann stated that since the vote in Louisiana is determined by parish, they will be eager to find out if more than 47 parishes vote in favor. The same number had approved daily fantasy sports two years ago. “The second challenge will be how fast the state legislature can work to set rules for taxing, licensing, and regulation in 2021,” Jonas said.
State lawmakers put the issue in front of voters when COVID-19 forced a government shutdown. FanDuel and DraftKings are financially backing the measure, which would also benefit MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Penn National Gaming.
“The challenge for voters is that it does not spell out enough and leaves much of the issue up to the legislature,” Jonas said.
Bussmann said the measure was “flawed from a policy perspective,” but the legislature views the ballot question as the best way for Maryland to add the activity since the state “is now surrounded by sports betting jurisdictions.”
South Dakota – sports betting
The Deadwood Gaming Association does back such a measure and would permit the city’s casinos to add outlets dedicated to sports betting. It is also assumed that, eventually, South Dakota lawmakers will also add mobile sports wagering.
Virginia – new casinos
Voters in four Virginia cities have up-or-down ballot questions over a single casino being built in each community. The casino partnerships lined up in these four cities are: Bristol with Hard Rock International, Danville with Caesars, Portsmouth with Rush Street Gaming, and Norfolk with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. “Norfolk may be an interesting conundrum out of the four cities, as the Pamunkey Tribe has taken a laissez-faire attitude of assumption until recent weeks,” Jonas wrote.
Jonas and Bussmann both expect voters in all four cities to approve the measures. However, the city of Richmond, Virginia, has yet to select an operating partner which has slowed down the process which was approved by state lawmakers.
Should this be approved, Amendment 77 will allow Central City, Cripple Creek and Black Hawk casinos to abolish single wager limits whilst also offering other types of games. Bussmann mentioned that he considers the initiative to pass, which will allow, “these Rocky Mountain locations to see growth after removing the existing limits that have only hindered the marketplace.”
About SiGMA's revamped website:
SiGMA Group is excited to announce the launch of its newly revamped website. The website is currently available in 5 languages, English, Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish with plans to add another 5 languages over the coming months - namely French, Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Hindi.