US sportsbooks map out next states for online sports betting wave

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America’s leading sports betting operators are planning to expand as the next wave of states to approve legal sportsbooks are set to launch in the coming months.

Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland – high-population states with well-known professional sports teams- are all expected to launch statewide mobile sports betting by late 2022 or early 2023. Kansas, known for its passionate college fan base, is also expected to launch online in the coming months, possibly as early as this fall.

And California, far and away the biggest prize in US sports betting, will determine its online sports betting fate through a ballot measure this November.

Officials from DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM reaffirmed during recent earnings calls they were eyeing all these states mentioned above for online sports betting launches. FanDuel, the US handle and gross gaming revenue (GGR) market share leader, is also expected to pursue licensure in the aforementioned jurisdictions as well.

Ohio is the only pending sports betting state launch with a firm timeline. The Buckeye State is set to start taking bets at 12:01 am local time Jan. 1, 2023.

Once live, Ohio is expected to have one of the most competitive marketplaces in the country. Along with the aforementioned market leaders, PointsBet, BetRivers, Barstool sportsbook and up to two-dozen other digital sportsbooks could start taking bets early next year.

Other sportsbooks that haven’t yet taken a bet in the US, including Underdog Fantasy and Fanatics, have also applied for Ohio mobile sports betting licenses. Bet365, a European gaming giant that has so far not made much impact in the US, could also make a serious push in Ohio.

Though Massachusetts’ sports betting law has not technically been enacted, leading sportsbooks are already preparing for what has long been one of the nation’s most anticipated markets.

The state’s sports betting bill will all but assure BetMGM, Barstool and WynnBet have online sports betting licenses. DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars are also expected to enter the state.

Following months of negotiations, the bill passed earlier this month will permit no more than 15 mobile licenses, meaning competition could be intense to enter one of America’s best-educated, most affluent and sports-crazy jurisdictions. Assuming Gov. Charlie Baker signs the bill into law as expected this week, state regulators believe it will likely be another three-to-six months before wagering can begin.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed his state’s sports betting bill into law in 2021, but the Old Line State still has no timeline for legal mobile wagering. Six retail books are open in the state with more, including several at professional sports stadiums, expected by next year.

Still, online wagering is projected to make up more than 90% of total handle once live and the governor as well as many Maryland bettors have been frustrated by the lengthy rollout process. Officials believe it could be another several months before online sportsbooks begin taking bets.

Once live, FanDuel, BetRivers, BetMGM, Caesars, Barstool and PointsBet – all of which have existing retail sportsbook dales – are expected to start taking bets. DraftKings, the most notable company not to have announced a retail sports betting deal, is also likely to enter the state.

Meanwhile, Kansas is preparing for what could be one of the quickest turnarounds from bill signing to first bet. Only 12 mobile sportsbooks will be permitted, and Barstool, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars are all expected to be among the licensees.

California has not legalized online sports betting but it has been a focal point for all major US operators. It’s too early to tell which way voters will decide, but it could mean a larger impact than all the other recently legalized sports betting states put together.

About the author

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Ryan Butler

Ryan is a veteran sports betting and iGaming regulation and breaking news journalist based in the US. A two-time Associated Press Sports Editors award winner, he has reported on sports and politics since 2012. He has covered the gaming industry since 2018. Ryan graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Journalism and a minor in Sport Management.

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