Regulatory Report: 269 gambling-related bills in progress in U.S. legislatures during December and January

February 8, 2024 2:45 PM
  • Debra Jobes — Gaming Division Lead, Regology
February 8, 2024 2:45 PM
  • Debra Jobes — Gaming Division Lead, Regology

The Regology Regulatory Report is a monthly roundup analyzing gambling legislation in the U.S.

With the number of bills recently prefiled and introduced in December 2023 and January 2024, the amount of activity in the US state legislatures during the last two months could be compared to the pregame attention and spike in viewership of the Super Bowl. However, I wouldn’t bet on any major celebrities being present for these major discussions! 🏈


Most of the state legislatures have convened for a new session or they are back in regular session with a total of 39 states (76.5%) in-session at this time. During the months of December/January 2024, a total number of 269 gambling-related bills went through various stages of the lawmaking process.1 Out of the total number of applicable gambling bills, 246 were recently introduced. The states that had the most bill activity were New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, West Virginia, Hawai’i, and New Hampshire.

 

The Regology platform processes and sends out alerts for not only bills, but also regulatory change, agency alerts (bulletins, press releases, directives, proposed and emergency rulemaking) and enforcement actions. The total number of alerts for all categories was 324 in December and 585 in January.

 

The agencies that sent out the majority of alerts were Maryland Lottery and Gaming, Indiana Gaming Commission, Colorado Specialized Business Group – Gaming, Ohio Lottery Commission, Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission, US Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, Mississippi Gaming Commission, and Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement.

Super Bowl MVPs: Recently Introduced Sports Betting and iGaming Legislation2

Sports Betting: 

Georgia – This proposed bill would allow the Georgia Lottery Corporation to engage in activities related to sports betting and provides for a short title. It also revises and provides for definitions, procedures, limitations, requirements, and qualifications of the licensing of any person offering, operating, or managing sports betting in this state. The bill provides for rules and regulations promulgated by the corporation, a privilege tax, certain reports, and resources for individuals with problem gambling or a betting or gambling disorder. It also provides for the collection and disposition of fees and fines, prohibits certain conduct by the corporation, employees of the corporation, licensees, and other persons, and provides for certain penalties. {SB 386 (1/24/2023) Introduced (02/1/2024) Passed Original Body]

 

Hawaii – The bill proposes the addition of a new chapter to the Hawaii Revised Statutes that would regulate sports wagering. The chapter would define terms related to sports wagering; establish a process for applying for a license or for renewal of a license; and allow an applicant for a sports wagering operator license to submit with the application a request to the department for the immediate commencement of sports wagering through a temporary license. The request would include the initial license fee payable to the department. The bill would also establish a process for issuing sports wagering supplier licenses, which would grant a licensee authority to sell or lease sports wagering equipment, systems, or services to sports wagering operators in the State. A tax is proposed equal to four percent of the gross income on sports wagering revenues and establishes penalties for unlicensed sports wagering. It would also require sports wagering operators to adopt comprehensive house rules for game play governing sports wagering transactions with its patrons and to conduct all sports wagering activities and functions in a manner that does not pose a threat to the public health, safety, or welfare of the residents of the State [HB 2765 (1/24/2024) Introduced (2/02/2024) Committee on ECD recommends the measure be deferred]

 

Mississippi – Also known as the Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act, HB 774 would legalize online race book and online sports pool betting in Mississippi. The act requires a platform that operates an online sports pool or online race book to obtain a manufacturer’s and distributor’s license and authorizes licensed gaming establishments to contract with no more than one platform. The platform can only accept wagers from players located in Mississippi and must contract for geofencing and age verification. The act prohibits play by any person under the age of 21. The act also amends several sections of the Mississippi Code of 1972 to conform to the preceding sections. Gross revenue from a platform operating an online race book or an online sports pool on behalf of the holder of a gaming license will be subject to license fees and credits under Sections 75-76-[1]. [HB 774 (1/29/2024) Introduced (02/1/2024) Passed Body of Origin]

 

Missouri – This bill would repeal sections 313.800, 313.813, and 313.842 of the Mo. Rev. Stat that did not include provisions for sports wagering. In place of these repealed sections, there are seventeen new sections to be added relating to sports wagering requirements with penalty provisions. It also establishes programs for compulsive gambling treatment, prevention, recovery, and education services. [SB 852 (1/3/2024) Introduced (01/11/2024) Second Read and Referred to the Appropriations Committee]

 

Nebraska – The proposed bill will legalize college sports betting, redefine terms, change provisions relating to sports wagering, and provide for the distribution of taxes collected from sports wagering on instate collegiate sporting events to the Nebraska Opportunity Grant Fund. The bill also harmonizes provisions and repeals the original sections. [LB 168 (1/9/2023) Introduced (1/3/2024) Carry Over]

 

Virginia – The proposed bill removes the betting ban on Virginia college sports by redefining various terms such as ‘college sports’, ‘sports betting’, and removing the term ‘Virginia College Sports’.  [SB 124 (1/4/2024) Introduced (01/24/2024) Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations]

 

West Virginia – HB 4700 was reintroduced for the 2024 session and would authorize sports wagering in the state. The bill will set requirements for operators accepting wagers on sports events. Patrons may also be banned from sports betting if the commission determines the patron has harassed or shown a harmful pattern of conduct directed at a sports official, coach or any participants of a sporting event. {HB 4700 (1/15/2024) Reintroduced; Referred to Judiciary}

 

iGaming:

Illinois – There are two companion bills recently reintroduced in the Illinois Assembly that would legalize iGaming in the State. The Internet Gaming Act includes provisions for license requirements, age verification, location, responsible gaming, diversity goals in procurement and spending by internet gaming licensees, acceptance of out-of-state wagers, and limitations on home rule units. An internet gaming licensee can offer no more than 3 individually branded internet gaming skins. It also imposes a 15% privilege tax on internet gaming to be deposited into the State Gaming Fund.

SB 1656 (2/8/2023) Introduced (1/10/2024) Re-assigned to Executive Committee 

HB 2239 (2/8/2023) Introduced (1/31/2024) Assigned to Gaming Committee]

 

Maryland – Two bills currently in the Maryland General Assembly have been proposed in the Senate that would legalize and regulate internet gaming in the State of Maryland..

  • SB 603 authorizes the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to issue licenses to certain video lottery operators and qualified applicants to conduct or participate in internet gaming operations in the state. The Commission will regulate internet gaming to the same extent as video lottery terminals, table games, and mobile sports wagering. [SB 603 (1/26/2024) Introduced (01/29/2024) Senate Hearing 2/28 at 1:00 p.m]
  • SB 565 authorizes the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to issue Internet gaming licenses with requirements for implementation legislation to include criteria and specifications. The intent of the General Assembly is for the State’s share of revenues generated by Internet gaming be used for the funding of public education This Act will be submitted to a referendum of the qualified voters of the State. [SB 565 (1/25/2024) Introduced (01/29/2024) Senate Hearing 2/28 at 1:00 pm]

 

New York – This bill would amend the racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law, in relation to interactive gaming and the tax law, in relation to interactive lottery gaming. It; requires licensees to house an interactive gaming licensee’s server or other equipment used for receiving interactive gaming wagers upon the physical premises of the licensed gaming facility. The bill also prohibits the issuance of additional mobile sports wagering licenses after the conversion of any mobile sports wagering platform provider license to an interactive gaming license. [SB 8185 (1/11/2024) Introduced]. 

 

Other carry over bills that have recently been reintroduced to legalize iGaming are:

  • AB 3634 (2/3/2023) Introduced (1/3/2024) Referred to Assembly Racing and Wagering
  • AB-1380 (1/17/2023) Introduced (1/3/2024) Referred to Assembly Racing and Wagering (Poker games only)

More Gaming Bills on the Move

Win, Lose, or Draw: Legislation that Became Law

Casino: 

Illinois – Allows gambling to be conducted at a temporary facility for up to 24 months after the start. This bill will allow the licensee to request an extension for up to 30 months. [SB 584 (12/8/2023) Became Law]

 

New Jersey – Extends certain accommodations implemented during COVID-19 public health emergency for businesses participating in State economic development programs. [SB 4217 (12/11/2023) Prefiled for 2024 (01/08/2024) Substituted by A 5840 (1/12/2024) Became Law]

New Players In the Game: Recently Introduced Legislation

US Federal Kids Online Safety Act: An Act proposed to protect the safety of children on the internet and requires covered platforms to act in the best interests of minors by taking reasonable measures to prevent and mitigate harm to minors. Covered platforms must provide safeguards and options for minors, including parental tools, reporting mechanisms, and default settings for privacy and safety. The bill also requires covered platforms to establish an internal process to receive and respond to reports of harmful content in a timely manner, prohibits advertising of illegal products to minors, and mandates transparency and disclosure requirements for covered platforms. [118 S. 1409 (5/2/2023) Introduced (12/13/2023) Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders]

 

US Federal Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment (GRIT) Act: Two companion bills have been introduced in the Senate of the United States that authorize the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use to award formula grants to the States to address gambling addiction. The bill also allows the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse to award grants to support research on gambling addiction. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to submit a report to Congress on the effectiveness of the programs and activities carried out pursuant to the bill’s provisions. The bill authorizes appropriations for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2032 to carry out the provisions of the bill.Companion Bills: GRIT (Gambling addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment) Act – authorizes awards for formula grants to the States to address gambling addiction

118 S. 3579 (1/11/2024) Introduced; Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

118 HR 6982 (1/11/2024) Introduced; Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

 

Casino: 

 

Florida – relating to slot machines

  • A revisement bill that amends FLCL 551.104 (4)(i)(6) License to Conduct Slot Machine Gaming – amended to read: “The slot machine licensee shall use the Internet-based job listing system of the Department of Commerce Economic Opportunity in advertising employment opportunities.” [Prefiled for 2024 – SB 82 (11/29/2024) Introduced (1/18/2024) Substituted for HB 7037; Passed 2nd Body]

 

  • An Act to amend several sections of the Florida Statutes to prohibit false personation of personnel or representatives from the Florida Gaming Control Commission. The bill proposes to increase criminal penalties for specified violations involving a slot machine or device, and prohibit trafficking in slot machines or devices. The bill also prohibits making false statements or disseminating false information regarding the legality of a slot machine or device to facilitate the sale or delivery of such device. Additionally, the regulation of gambling is expressly preempted to the state, with some exceptions. Amendments are proposed to sections related to bail and offense severity ranking charts of the Florida Criminal Punishment Code. [HB 189 (10/17/2023) Prefiled (01/31/2024) Referred to Judiciary Committee]

 

Hawai’i -The debate has begun again in the Hawai’i State Legislature concerning the legality of gambling and introduction of facilities such as casinos that have long been illegal in this state. A bill has been recently introduced to allow limited casino gaming and for a resort-style casino on the island of Oahu to be built. [HB 2762 (1/24/2024) Introduced (01/30/2024) Heard by ECD on Friday, 02-02-24]. There are also two companion bills to authorize the establishment of one gaming facility within a county having a population greater than five hundred thousand residents for poker and sportsbook betting.

HB 2260 (1/24/2024) Introduced (1/26/2024) Referred to ECD, CPC/JHA, FIN

SB 3377 (1/24/2024) Introduced (01/29/2024) Referred to EET/CPN, WAM/JDC

 

Maine – An act to implement a facility-based monitoring system for slot machines in the state of Maine. The act requires all slot machines at a casino or slot machine facility to communicate electronically with an on-site facility-based monitoring system that is accessible by the department. [LD 2070 (SP871) (12/20/2023) Introduced]

 

Mississippi – The Mississippi Smoke-Free Air Act of 2024 has recently been introduced to prohibit smoking in enclosed public places and places of employment, private clubs, enclosed residential facilities, certain outdoor public places, and places of employment. The act requires owners, operators, and managers of public places or places of employment where smoking is prohibited to clearly and conspicuously post “no smoking” signs. [HB 46 (1/17/2024) Introduced]

 

New Hampshire – The bill proposes changes to the deduction from the buy-in amount collected from players for games of chance where chips have no monetary face value. The current law limits the payback in prizes to not exceed 80 percent of the total amount collected from players. The proposed amendment requires a minimum of 20 percent or $250 of the buy-in amount collected from players, whichever is less, to be deducted from the buy-in amount. Thirty-five percent (35%) of the total amount deducted will be paid to the charity, and the balance will be retained by the game operator employer. The bill will take effect 60 days after its passage. [HB 1549 (12/11/2023) Introduced (1/30/2024) Public Hearing]

 

Virginia – There has been a lot of activity in the Virginia General Assembly concerning eligible host cities, and cruise ship gaming in offshore waters.

 

Three separate bills related to eligible host cities propose that a governing body of any eligible host city that holds a local referendum on the question of whether casino gaming should be permitted, and  subsequently fails, would be prohibited from holding another referendum on the same question for a period of three years from the date of the last referendum.

  • SB-345 (1/9/2024) Introduced (01/24/2024) Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations
  • HB-1131 (1/10/2024) Introduced (02/01/2024) Reported Pass from General Laws
  • HB-525 (1/8/2024) Introduced (02/01/2024) Reported Pass from General Laws with amendment(s)

 

There is also a set of three bills in the legislature that relates to specific cities within Virginia that would be Casino eligible host localities:

  • Removes the City of Richmond as an eligible host city for casino gaming establishments in the Commonwealth. [SB 541 and HB 1131(1/10/2024) Introduced (01/24/2024) Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations]
  • Amends the list of cities eligible to host a casino in the Commonwealth by replacing Richmond with Petersburg. [SB 628 (1/10/2024) Introduced (01/24/2024) Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations]
  • Adds Fairfax County to the list of localities eligible to host a casino. [SB 675 (1/17/2024) Introduced (01/24/2024) Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations]

 

Regarding cruise ship gaming in the offshore waters of the Commonwealth, there are two companion bills that would amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Article 1 of Chapter 8 of Title 18.2 and a section numbered 18.2-334.7, relating to exemptions to this article.

SB-689 (1/18/2024) Introduced (01/24/2024) Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations

HB 1478 (1/18/2024) Introduced (01/30/2024) Subcommittee failed to recommend

 

1 Regology database statistics filtered by jurisdiction [US federal/50 states], status [applicable bills only], and time period [December  1 – January 31, 2024].

2 Bills included in this category are reported “active”, even though the state legislature may have adjourned during this time period. Regology uses the official status reported by each individual state legislature according to their policies and procedures.