Which states are being actively tracked for online poker and casino legislation by Online Poker Report?
More could be moving their way toward the on-deck circle, too. Below is a look at those we’re monitoring right now, which will update as events warrant. Our map of legislation also includes a comprehensive online gambling bill tracker.
Last updated Apr. 29.
Momentum: Slightly up
Although the Connecticut legislature adjourned without resolving any gaming issues last year, it remains on the list of candidates.
The US Supreme Court decision to allow state-regulated sports betting has sparked renewed chatter in the capital. Gov. Dannel Malloy indicated he wanted to call lawmakers into a special session to revisit that issue.
It looked like online gambling could be part of that session, maybe used as a bargaining chip to garner tribal support. That never materialized, and it appears gaming bills will struggle to pass until the East Windsor situation is sorted out.
Momentum: Treading water
Illinois burst onto the scene as a contender to legalize online gambling in 2017, when the Senate passed a bill with ease. The House didn’t vote on the legislation, and slim hopes of something happening quickly came and went.
The conversation shifted to sports betting in 2018, and the omnibus route appeared as the most direct path for Illinois to pursue expansion in the short term.
Days before adjournment, Rep. Robert Rita rekindled a dormant casino bill, filing an amendment that spawned two hearings in the Gaming House Subcommittee. The changes include placeholders to legalize online gambling, daily fantasy sports and sports betting in one fell swoop. No provisions, just placeholders.
During the hearings, Rita indicated that all three of those articles require more work than can be done before adjournment. The amendment did set the stage for the next round of discussions, though.
A lack of chatter about online gambling during an October expansion hearing figures to bode well for its chances in 2019. That being said, a legislative effort has yet to materialize so far this year.
Momentum: Slightly down
An over-arching gaming bill that appears to allow for online gambling in Massachusetts surfaced this year. The bill’s focus, however, is daily fantasy sports. A hearing was held on the bill in February, but it’s been largely crickets since then.
The gaming commission in Massachusetts remains one of the most up-to-speed organizations when it comes to new forms of gaming. The latest example: It’s now preparing for the possibility of sports betting.
That being said, all gaming efforts took a small step backward last fall with the resignation of the top regulator, Stephen Crosby.
It took until the very last day of the session, but Michigan online gambling finally made some progress in the legislature. Both chambers passed a package of bills from Rep. Brandt Iden which also featured one sentence of online sports betting language.
On his way out of office, however, former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the package. Snyder cited concerns over cannibalization of land-based casino and online lottery revenue, though those arguments have been thoroughly invalidated in other markets.
The veto did little more than kick the can down the road into 2019. Iden has reintroduced his online gambling bill (H 4311) this year, with plans to initiate a separate effort surrounding sports betting.
Momentum: Treading water
As the 2019 session hits its stride, lawmakers are set to consider online poker legislation for the sixth consecutive year. Serving as the new chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, Sen. Joseph Addabbo is off and running with the baton passed by now-retired Sen. John Bonacic.
In January, Addabbo introduced a bill that would reclassify online poker as a legal game of skill. Prospects for passage remain somewhat cloudy, but there is a fresh proposal on file as the session begins, at least.