Sports Betting Landscape: Odds Favor California, Florida, and Texas Remaining on Sidelines

Sports betting in the US continues to expand across the country, but the three largest states – California, Texas, and Florida – aren't expected to participate anytime soon.

The odds of sports betting coming to the country's three largest states remain long. (Image: KM Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Associated Press reports that the three states have been home to teams that have participated in more than half of the championship series and games in the US' big four pro sports leagues over the last 10 years. But the odds of sportsbooks coming to the trio of jurisdictions remain long at best.

“These states are the brass rings given the size of the populations and the potential opportunity,” American Gaming Association Senior VP of Public Affairs Sara Slane stated.

“The dynamic at work here is the larger the state, the larger the market, the larger the opportunity – the more complex the stakeholder environment and the more political stasis sets in,” Eilers and Krejcik analyst Chris Grove explained.

Since the May repeal of the federal sports betting ban by the US Supreme Court, seven states – Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi, and New Mexico – have passed laws to join Nevada in regulating sportsbooks.

Trio Importance

California, Texas, and Florida collectively account for about 90 million people – or more than one in four US residents.

Texas has long opposed commercial gambling. In Florida, the powerful Seminole Tribe has possessed a monopoly on casino gaming for many decades.

Out west in California, the political climate has varying interests when it comes to gaming that has blocked slot machines and table games from coming to commercial venues. Card clubs, Native American groups, and politicians have struggled to compromise on any expansion.

It's so much easier to kill legislation than enact it,” Las Vegas-based gaming attorney Gregory Gemignani told Casino.org.

As for the possibility of California legalizing sports betting, Gemignani added, “Unless you get a supermajority of all those groups on the same page, it's not going to happen. They have competing interests, and they don't have enough in common that can get a bill through the legislature.”

ESPN Sports Betting Show

Sports betting continues to go mainstream in the US, and leagues are embracing the legalization in hopes of growing interest and subsequent revenue.

Major League Baseball announced last week that it had reached a deal with Sportradar to distribute real-time statistics to sportsbooks. America's “big four” leagues – the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL – all have made partnerships with sports betting companies since the SCOTUS repeal.

As for media developments, Showtime will air a docuseries on sports betting this month. And Fox Sports already has a daily hourlong show titled “Lock It In” that covers the day's spreads.

ESPN is the latest media company to dip its toes into the world of sports gambling. The network announced this week a new 60-minute series called “Daily Wager” that will be tailored towards those focused on moneylines and odds.

The show will be broadcast via the ESPN app.

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