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Montana Legalizes Sports Betting: Iowa, Indiana, and Tennessee Could Be Next

Montana

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in May of 2018, and we have seen a flurry of legalization activity ever since. Each state is now responsible for framing legislation with respect to sports betting, and some lawmakers jumped at the opportunity.

Before the Supreme Court took action, Nevada was the primary destination for legal sports gambling in the United States. Oregon, Montana, and Delaware also had some forms of sports betting before the May 2018 ruling, but they were very limited compared to Nevada’s offerings. 

Montana joins the party

It appears that Montana will no longer succumb to those restraints, as Gov. Steve Bullock signed a sports betting bill on May 3, 2019. The law is effective immediately, and the state lottery is tasked with designing a wagering system through local kiosks and mobile apps. Early reports indicate that the system will be operational by fall of 2019.

Montana will join seven other states who have regulated and legalized sports betting. That list includes the aforementioned-likes of Nevada along with newcomers over the past year such as New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. 

Who will make the next move?

Three states are on the cusp of legalization: Iowa, Indiana, and Tennessee.

Each respective state has passed legislation while currently seeking approval from the governor. Having said that, there are key differences in these bills – for better or worse. We also need to consider that getting the governor to sign is more than a simple formality. Speculation may fly one way or another, but no action will happen until the final signature goes through.

Here are the details for those three states approaching the finish line:

Indiana is in relatively good shape

This bill looks promising, asking $100,000 for a sports betting license with a 9.5% tax rate. That lands towards the lower end of the spectrum on both fronts.

Mobile gaming would be allowed under this bill

Most reports suggest that Gov. Eric Holcomb will sign this bill into law around Mid-May of 2019. Sports betting enthusiasts from the Hoosier state will hold their breath until then, but things look promising at the moment.

Iowa remains optimistic

Iowa’s bill is even friendlier than Indiana’s while requiring a $45,000 licensing fee with a 6.75% tax rate.

Similar to Indiana, this bill would allow mobile and on-site wagering. Daily fantasy sports would become legal in Iowa if the bill gets passed, as it is currently restricted in the Hawkeye state.

The holdup comes from Gov. Kim Reynolds, who seems neutral at best when asked whether she’ll sign this bill into law. The deadline to take action is May 27.

Tennessee is ready, barring a setback

This bill is less friendly while asking for a $750,000 annual licensing fee from operators alongside a 20% tax rate. There is also a provision asking for official data to be used, a standard that is not currently active in the United States. 

Gov. Bill Lee mentioned that he will let the legislation pass without taking action, meaning that Tennessee will have legalized sports gambling barring a setback.

The legality pertains only to online sports betting and not on-site wagering.

Spencer Limbach has covered sports betting and daily fantasy sports since 2011. His work has been featured on Rotoworld, Yahoo Sports, FanDuel, RotoWire, and FantasyLabs as well as bookstores nationwide.

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