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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (June 25, 2019)
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Regional divide opens in sports betting legislation
is following regional
boundaries, with Deep
South and far West
Status of sports betting around the U.S.
Legal but not yet happening
Awaiting governor's signature
On ballot 2019
Was considered; won’t be legalized 2019
No legislation 2019
By GEOFF MULVIHILL
HERRY HILL, N.J. —
In the year since the U.S.
Supreme Court cleared
the way for every state to legal-
ize sports betting, a regional
divide has opened as states decide
whether to expand their gambling
By year’s end, legalization is
possible in a dozen states in the
Northeast and Midwest. But most
states in the Deep South and far
West — SEC and Pac-12 territory
in college sports — are staying on
the sidelines, at least for now.
State lawmakers are weigh-
ing the benefits of a slight boost
in state revenue and the ability to
add consumer protections against
concerns about the morality of
allowing another form of gam-
bling. Sorting out complex busi-
ness interests and opposition from
some casino-operating tribes also
has emerged as thorny challenges.
It’s not clear whether legaliza-
tion will happen in all corners of
the country over the next few years
or if opposition will keep it con-
centrated in the regions where it’s
already taken root.
With just two exceptions, the
Deep South states have been
among the most resistant to legal-
izing sports betting. In Louisiana,
a legalization bill passed the Sen-
ate earlier this year but died in the
Republican state Sen. Danny
Martiny favors legalization, say-
ing Louisianans already are bet-
ting on sports through bookies,
offshore websites and casinos in
neighboring Mississippi. He said
Louisiana should regulate and tax
sport bets, with the receipts largely
earmarked for early childhood
“We have all of the ills of gam-
ing,” Martiny said during a com-
mittee hearing, “but none of
Opponents such as Rep. Vala-
rie Hodges, also a Republican,
said gambling preys on the poor
and that the state should find a bet-
ter way to pay for early education.
“What we legalize, we legiti-
mize,” she said.
Hodges’ side prevailed in the
legislative debate, aided by a dis-
pute among gambling interests
over whether sports betting should
be limited to the state’s 16 casi-
nos and four racetracks or also
available at 2,800 truck stops and
other locations with video poker
Before the May 2018 Supreme
Court ruling that allowed sports-
books across the country, full-ser-
vice ones were running legally
only in Nevada. Last year, they
opened in seven more states. So
far this year, sports books have
been legalized but haven’t yet
begun operating in another five,
plus the District of Columbia.
Bills are awaiting signatures
from the governors in Illinois,
Maine and New Hampshire. Col-
orado voters will decide the mat-
ter for that state in November. In
Oregon, the state lottery is work-
ing on regulations with the plan
of launching sports betting under
existing law in time for the start of
the NFL season.
Four more states are consider-
ing legalization during their cur-
rent legislative sessions, but most
legislatures have wrapped up their
work for the year. Lawmakers in
18 states rejected sports betting
legalization bills for 2019, accord-
ing to a tally of legislation by The
There are several other states
where lawmakers might have an
appetite for legalization, but there
isn’t agreement in the complicated
and tightly regulated gambling
industry on how or whether to do
A common factor in those
places, including California and
Florida, is the prevalence of casi-
nos operated by Native American
tribes. Agreeing to allow sports
betting might mean the tribes
would face increased competition.
Chris Grove, a gambling indus-
try strategist at Eilers & Krejcik,
said he expects several states —
mostly in the Northeast and upper
Midwest — to legalize sports bet-
ting in the next year, and then for
the spread to slow because the
remaining states are reluctant
to allow gambling generally or
because of tribal influence.
“As you move farther west, the
more complex the stakeholder pic-
ture and the harder it is to get any-
thing done,” he said.
But Bill Pascrell III, a lobby-
ist for some gambling companies,
expects that even some states that
have been traditionally reluctant
to legalize gambling will allow
sports betting in the future. He
points to Tennessee, a state with-
out any casinos, deciding to legal-
ize online sports betting.
The absence of sports gambling
in California, Texas and Florida,
the nation’s most populous states,
leaves a gaping hole in the indus-
try. They are home to more than
a quarter of the teams in the four
major professional sports and have
about the same combined pop-
ulation as all the states that have
adopted legalized sports betting,
including those where bills have
been sent to governors but not
signed into law.
Other states, including Utah
and South Carolina, are unlikely
to welcome sports betting any-
time soon because it’s difficult to
sell any form of gambling there.
Over the past year, states with
legal sportsbooks have reported
about $9 billion in bets being
made. But sportsbooks are a rel-
atively low-margin business for
their operators, who pay taxes
only on how much they win, not
how much is gambled.
According to their most recent
financial reports, three of the
states with legal sportsbooks are
on pace to bring in far less than
they expected in taxes their first
fiscal year. Mississippi is bringing
in about half of what it needs each
month to reach an informal state
target. Rhode Island and West Vir-
ginia are both on pace to bring in
20% to 30% of their expected rev-
enue, according to an AP analysis.
Even in New Jersey, where
mobile betting has caught on
quickly, sports betting taxes
amount to far less than 1% of all
Washington state Rep. Derek
Stanford, the Democratic chair-
man of a committee overseeing
gambling activity, said he thinks
the state is not ready for sports
betting, and that’s a reason none of
the three bills to legalize it there
gained traction this year.
He said the state needs to work
through concerns ranging from
the effects of legalized sports
betting on public health to figur-
ing out how it would affect tribal
“My sense is that we don’t
want to be the ones breaking new
ground here,” he said. “If other
states are doing this, we can see
what experience they have.”
We’re all part of Umatilla County history.
SHARE YOUR PHOTOS
The East Oregonian is proud to announce its partnership with Athena
Public Library, City of Echo, Milton-Freewater Area Historical Society,
Pendleton Round-up, Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, Umatilla County
Historical Society and our readers on a new pictorial history book,
“Umatilla County Memories: The Early Years.”
We are excited to invite you, our readers, to participate in this unique project. Please
bring your photos to one of our scanning sessions listed here — and be sure to check
our submission guidelines. Photos will be scanned on-site and given right back to
Saturday, June 22 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
you. In order to keep things speedy, please fill out our simple photo submission form
Tribal images only
prior to the session. Forms can be downloaded at Umatilla.PictorialBook.com.
Please plan to fill out one form for each photo you’d like to submit.
Tamástslikt Cultural Institute
47106 Wildhorse Boulevard, Pendleton
Sunday, June 23 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Download submission forms and pre-order at
Echo Bank Building and Historical Museum
230 W. Main Street, Echo
Monday, June 24 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Athena Public Library
418 E. Main Street, Athena
Wednesday, June 26 10 a.m. – noon
Umatilla County Historical Society
Heritage Station Museum
108 SW Frazer, Pendleton
Thursday, June 27 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Milton-Freewater Area Historical Society
and Frazier Farmstead Museum
1403 Chestnut Street, Milton-Freewater
General interest photos, such as: commerce, industry, transportation, rural life,
public service, etc.
Photos taken between the 1800s and 1939.
Photos only — preferably original (no newspaper clippings or photocopies).
Photos taken in Umatilla County.
Limit 10 photos per family. No appointment necessary.
If you’re a private collector, call 360-723-5800 to set up an appointment.
Not all photos submitted or used in
ads will appear in the final book.