UNITED STATES NEWS

Mobile sports bets booming in some states as others shy away

Mar 16, 2023, 6:01 AM

The stakes are higher in Ohio this year for March Madness — and not just because it’s a regional host for the first round of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.

For the first time, Ohio sports fans can click on a mobile app or tap into kiosks at bars, restaurants or grocery stores and legally bet on the famed tournament.

the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it nearly five years ago.

Ohio got off to a booming start when it launched sports betting in January. In its first month, Ohio bettors wagered more than $1.1 billion, generating more than $20 million in state tax revenue. That nearly tripled the revenue amount that legislative analysts had projected for the entire first six months of operation. But no one’s blaming them for missing the mark.

“They couldn’t know how big of a market we were going to have on day one,” said Jessica Franks, communications director at the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Whereas some states started with limited in-person sports betting and gradually added mobile apps, Ohio began more aggressively — simultaneously launching numerous mobile options and retail locations. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is now proposing to double the tax rate on sports betting.

more than $1.6 billion was wagered through online sports betting, compared to just $15 million through in-person sports bets at casinos.

New York charges a 51% tax on revenue from mobile sports betting — a far higher rate than other states — with most revenue going to education. Budget officials originally projected that mobile sports betting would generate $357 million in state tax revenue for the 2023 fiscal year, which ends March 31. Bettors have blown that away. Through February, mobile sports betting had generated $661 million of tax revenue for education.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., who advocated for sports betting as chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, said even he is amazed at the results.

“There is an appetite, certainly, to do sports betting with a mobile device,” Addabbo said.

New York and Ohio both have large populations and multiple professional sports teams to help drive interest in sports betting.

Arkansas, a much smaller state without major league sports teams, began in-person sports betting at casinos in July 2019. Things really took off last year when it launched mobile sports betting. State figures show nearly $3 million was wagered on this year’s Super Bowl — more than three times the annual amount before mobile betting was allowed.

State officials expect people from neighboring states to cross into Arkansas to bet on March Madness.

“We will be surprised if March doesn’t set a new monthly record for sports betting in the state,” said Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Other states also have exceeded expectations for sports betting revenues.

Indiana’s sports wagering taxes topped $31 million in the 2022 fiscal year — well more than the $12 million projection when lawmakers authorized it in 2019. New Hampshire’s tax take of nearly $24 million from sports betting easily doubled its original projection for the 2022 fiscal year.

But not every state is banking as many bucks as projected from sports betting.

Legislative analysts in Montana, which allows sports bets only from online networks inside bars and casinos, had anticipated that $79 million of bets would be cast last fiscal year, generating $4.8 million of state tax revenue. The actual results were about half that — $2.4 million of state tax revenue from about $45 million of sports bets.

Connecticut received less than $20 million in sports betting taxes in the first 16 months since wagering began in October 2021. Legislative analysts had projected $21 million in its first full fiscal year.

Nationwide, legal sports betting has generated more than $3 billion in state and federal taxes since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling allowing it, according to the American Gaming Association. It’s producing about one-quarter of what eventually could be expected from a fully mature market.

The debate about sports betting has shifted from “`Is this something we should consider?’ to ‘How should we go about doing this in a way that best serves our constituencies?’” said Casey Clark, the association’s senior vice president.

The prospects for sports betting to expand into more states this year appear mixed.

A bill legalizing sports betting advanced Wednesday to the Senate but still faces a high hurdle. Similar bills have died in the past in the Senate, and this year’s version would a need three-fifths vote to pass.

Supporters also are taking another run at a sports betting bill in Minnesota and various other states.

In Missouri, attempts to authorize sports betting have gotten bogged down in the Senate over whether to pair them with regulations on slot-machine-style games that have been popping up in convenience stores.

In Georgia, sports betting bills have stalled amid debate about whether a constitutional amendment is needed, how to spend the potential tax revenue and whether to pair sports betting with the legalization of casinos and horse racing tracks.

The three most populous states — California, Texas and Florida — all currently lack online sports betting. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which received exclusive state rights to run sports betting, shut down its online app in December 2021 after federal courts ruled it violated a rule requiring people to be physically present on tribal land when wagering.

After the most expensive ballot issue battle in U.S. history, California voters last November rejected a pair of rival sports betting initiatives backed by Native American tribes and the gambling industry. Supporters are likely to try again, though it’s unclear when that might occur.

___

Lieb reported from Jefferson City, Mo. Associated Press writers Jeff Amy in Atlanta; Tom Davies in Indianapolis; Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Ark.; Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Fla.; Susan Haigh in Hartford, Conn.; Amy Beth Hanson in Helena, Mont.; Steve Karnowski in St. Paul, Minn.; Maysoon Khan in Albany, N.Y.; Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H.; Bruce Schreiner in Frankfort, Ky.; and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

United States News

Associated Press

2 killed in helicopter crash in Washington state, authorities say

BLUESTEM, Wash. (AP) — Two men died in a helicopter crash in eastern Washington state, authorities said. Lincoln County Fire District 6 Chief Brandon Larmer told KREM-TV that the helicopter had two people aboard when it crashed Wednesday afternoon. The men who died were identified Thursday as 68-year-old Ryan Sandvig, of Spokane, and 63-year-old Mark […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Gold bars and Sen. Bob Menendez’s curiosity about their price takes central role at bribery trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors showed jurors at Sen. Bob Menendez ’s trial on Thursday multiple instances when he researched the value of gold as he tried to help a New Jersey businessman who authorities say bribed him with gold and cash. The evidence about the Democrat’s online searches was prominently displayed to a New […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Bill allowing doctor-assisted suicide in Delaware fails in Senate

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A bill allowing doctor-assisted suicide in Delaware failed to win approval in the state Senate on Thursday after narrowly clearing the House earlier this year, but it could come back next week. The legislation failed in the Democrat-led Senate in a 9-9 tie after three members of the Democratic caucus spoke […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Amtrak trains suspended from Philadelphia to New Haven by circuit breaker malfunction

NEW YORK (AP) — Amtrak trains were temporarily suspended Thursday afternoon from Philadelphia to New Haven, Connecticut, by a circuit breaker malfunction, the national rail service said. The technical issue led to a widespread loss of power on the tracks between Penn Station in New York City and Union Station in Newark, New Jersey at […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Witnesses say Ohio man demanded Jeep before he stabbed couple at a Nebraska interstate rest area

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Witnesses say they heard an Ohio man demand the keys to a Jeep that was being towed behind a Missouri couple’s RV before he brutally stabbed them both and killed the man at an Interstate 80 rest area. James Thompson Jr., 22, was formally charged with first-degree murder and 10 […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

FBI raids homes in Oakland, California, including one belonging to the city’s mayor

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Federal authorities raided a home belonging to Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao early Thursday as part of a California investigation that included a search of at least two other houses, officials said. FBI agents carried boxes out of 80 Maiden Lane, a four-bedroom home that property records link to the first-term mayor, […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Mobile sports bets booming in some states as others shy away