Another cohort of US states introduced new betting bills towards to the end of January, apparently undeterred by the utterances of the Department of Justice.
Massachusetts, Hawaii, Arizona, Virginia and New Hampshire all have legislation on their books that would regulate sports betting in one fashion or another.
Sports betting would be the first form of gambling to ever be legalised in Hawaii. House Bill 1107 intends to allow the state to also become its sole bookmaker, on the basis that “tens of thousands” of Hawaiians are already doing so with offshore sites. “Moreover, tens of millions of dollars in revenues generated from online gambling are being realised by offshore operators serving Hawaii residents, but no benefits are provided to the State,” the bill reads.
Meanwhile Arizona is looking at a new bill to enable its 16 gaming tribes to offer sports betting at their 24 casinos, and elsewhere within their lands.
New Hampshire is considering a relatively open model for betting, that would authorise the state’s Lottery Commission “to conduct sports betting directly or through an authorised agent via the use of mobile internet devices and through physical sports book retail establishments.”
In Massachusetts five bills are now on the table (see North America, page 14). The current favourite, submitted by the governor himself, makes references to operators’ ability to transfer betting information across state lines – seemingly in disregard for the DoJ’s opinion days earlier that such activity be outlawed. Either Baker wrote his before the DoJ’s was published, or he knows his case law, and is confident the latter opinion will be quashed in the circuit courts.