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The Impact of Elections on Online Casino Legislation in the US

Explore how the 2024 elections in the United States could impact the future of online casino legislation. From gubernatorial races to state legislatures, discover how election outcomes will shape gambling regulations for years to come.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: May 13, 2024

THe USA LANDSCAPE

In the realm of online casino legislation in the United States, the year 2024 may seem like a quiet one, but its ramifications could reverberate for years to come. As an election year, both federally and across numerous states, the outcome of these elections holds significant implications for the future of online gambling regulations.

With 78% of state-level legislative seats up for grabs in November 2024, along with 11 gubernatorial elections, the landscape of online casino legislation could experience substantial shifts. While not all elections may directly impact the gaming industry, many states have the potential to see significant changes.

Gubernatorial Races: Key Players in Online Casino Bills

Indiana

In Indiana, current US Senator Mike Braun is poised to become the next governor, succeeding the term-limited Governor Kelly Holcomb. Braun, while not vocal on online casino legalization, has previously shown support for online sports betting.

Missouri

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a leading candidate for Missouri’s Republican nomination for governor, has been relatively silent on the issue of gambling expansion. However, with the potential for sports betting ballot questions, the outcome could shape future discussions.

New Hampshire

With current Governor Chris Sununu not seeking reelection, the primary races indicate the potential for new leadership. However, with candidates like Joyce Craig and Kelly Ayotte leading their respective parties, the stance on gambling expansion remains uncertain.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, both primary winners, Attorney General Josh Stein and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, have expressed caution towards gambling expansion. However, neither has outright opposed it, leaving room for legislative influence.

 

An overview of the USA landscape

Gambling Laws

California

California, known for its diverse gaming landscape, often relies on ballot measures for gambling expansion. However, the state legislature still plays a critical role. It must approve any amended tribal gaming compacts involving online gambling. Additionally, the legislature may need to pass enabling legislation to implement voter-approved gambling expansions. With half of California’s 40 Senate seats and all 80 seats in the state House up for grabs, the outcome of these elections could significantly impact future gambling regulations.

Colorado

In Colorado, discussions on expanding gambling to include online casinos have been ongoing. Lawmakers have been in talks with industry stakeholders, but as of yet, no concrete legislation has surfaced. This lack of clear direction makes it challenging to predict how the 2024 elections will impact online casino legislation. With primaries scheduled for June, Coloradans will soon begin making decisions that could shape the future of gambling in their state.

Florida

Florida's gambling landscape is currently embroiled in legal battles, with the courts at the forefront. The legality of the current framework for online sports betting is under scrutiny, with potential implications for future legislation. Should court decisions uphold the current framework, the legislature may need to take action. The Seminole Tribe of Florida may seek to expand its exclusivity over online casino play, requiring legislative approval. With primaries in August, the outcome of the elections will provide insights into the legislative environment for gambling in Florida.

Georgia

Georgia's political dynamics have historically influenced gambling expansion initiatives. With a significant Democrat minority in Atlanta, joined by Republican dissenters, previous proposals have faced hurdles. The primary elections on May 21 will reveal whether the Democrat minority will strengthen, potentially impacting the majority Republican component. The composition of the legislature will determine whether future gambling expansion efforts gain traction or face continued opposition.

Hawaii

Hawaii has seen short-lived attempts to introduce regulated gambling in recent years. While the legislature has debated the issue, no significant progress has been made. With primaries scheduled for August, the election outcomes will shape the composition of the legislature. Key proponents like Rep. John Mizuno, who proposed a bill to legalize online poker and sports betting earlier in 2024, will be affected. The results will indicate whether Hawaii will continue to resist or reconsider gambling expansion.

Illinois

In Illinois, discussions on online casino legalization have been ongoing, but no serious efforts have been made. However, key lawmakers have shown support for the idea. Reelection of proponents like Sen. Cristina Castro and Rep. Edgar Gonzalez could reignite discussions in the next term. While their intentions regarding future legislation remain uncertain, their presence in the legislature may prompt further debate on online casino legalization.

Iowa

Iowa, like neighboring Illinois, has seen discussions on online casino legalization, albeit on a smaller scale. While half of Iowa’s 50 Senate seats are up for grabs, the real influence lies in the House races. All 100 seats in the House are part of November’s elections. Rep. Jacob Bossman and Rep. Bobby Kaufmann have lightly pushed for online casino legalization and are running for unopposed reelection. However, convincing their colleagues and existing casino licensees to support their proposal will be a significant challenge in the next term.

Maine

Maine came close to legalizing online casinos in 2024 but fell short by a few votes. Rep. Laura D. Supica, a staunch supporter of gambling expansion, could return to Augusta. However, Supica faces a challenger in the general election. With all 35 Senate seats and all 151 House seats available, the composition of the legislature will be crucial. The reelection of Supica and other proponents of gambling expansion could tip the balance in favor of future legislation.

Minnesota

Minnesota has seen vocal proponents of online casino legalization, such as Rep. Zack Stephenson, actively advocating for change. With all 134 seats in the House up for grabs in November, the reelection of key figures will influence future discussions. While it’s uncertain whether Stephenson and others will succeed in pushing through legislation, their presence in the legislature ensures that the issue remains on the agenda.

Missouri

Missouri has witnessed debates on gambling expansion, with key figures like Sen. Bill Eigel playing significant roles. Half of Missouri’s Senate seats and every House of Representatives seat will face voter scrutiny in November. The primary outcomes will determine whether the candidates represent amenable positions for gaming expansion. The reelection of figures like Eigel could shape the direction of future gambling legislation in Missouri.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has explored the idea of limited online casinos, but no substantial progress has been made. With every seat in both chambers of the legislature up for grabs in November, the composition of the legislature will be crucial. Primary elections in September will provide insights into the direction of future discussions. With a new governor and a competitive partisan makeup, predicting the outcome of gambling legislation remains challenging.

New York

New York’s primary elections in June will determine the fate of key supporters of online casino legalization, such as Sen. Joe Addabbo. While the focus has been on issuing licenses for brick-and-mortar casinos, Addabbo’s reelection could ensure that online casino legislation remains on the agenda. Assembly member Gary Pretlow’s reelection will also impact future discussions. With the issue of online casinos taking a back seat, having Addabbo and Pretlow in place could prove crucial for future legislation.

North Carolina

North Carolina, despite rolling out legal online sports betting, has been hesitant about online casino play. With a new governor assured and every legislative seat up for grabs in November, the possibilities are numerous. Notably, Sen. Jim Perry, who opposed online casinos in the past, is retiring. The likely replacement for House Speaker Tim Moore, Rep. Destin Hall, has shown openness to gaming interests. The future of online casino legislation in North Carolina hinges on the composition of the legislature and key leadership positions.

Ohio

Ohio’s political landscape regarding online casino legalization remains uncertain. While discussions have occurred, the outcome of the 2024 elections will determine future directions. With only 77 incumbents running for re-election out of 99 House seats, predicting the composition of the legislature is challenging. The results of the elections will provide insights into the potential for future gambling legislation in Ohio.

Texas

In Texas, key figures like Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Reps. Jeff Leach and Charlie Geren have supported gambling expansion. With every member of the House of Representatives up for reelection, the outcomes will be crucial. While the reelection of proponents is promising, challenges remain, particularly in the Senate. However, the absence of Kolkhorst from the 2024 elections suggests that significant obstacles to online casino legalization in the Senate may persist.

 

Federal Level: Limited Activity

 

At the federal level, the Biden Administration has maintained a stance of inactivity regarding online gambling regulation. Since taking office, the administration has not shown significant interest or taken proactive steps in this area. Additionally, Congress has largely avoided addressing the issue, leaving the fate of federal regulation uncertain. Despite growing interest and advocacy from various stakeholders, including industry leaders and consumer advocacy groups, the lack of action at the federal level has left online gambling regulation in a state of limbo.

With no clear direction from the executive or legislative branches, the status quo persists, leaving states to navigate their own paths in regulating online gambling. The absence of federal guidelines or legislation has created a patchwork of regulations across states, further complicating the issue and leaving both operators and consumers uncertain about the legal landscape.

 

“From gubernatorial races to state legislatures, the 2024 elections will set the course for the future of online casino legislation in the United States, shaping gambling regulations for years to come.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, the 2024 elections represent a pivotal moment for the future of online casino legislation in the United States. From gubernatorial races to state legislatures, the outcomes will shape the landscape of gambling regulations for years to come. The various primaries and general elections yet to occur are being closely watched by stakeholders in the gaming industry.

They are anticipating how the results will influence their strategies and efforts in the coming years. The outcomes of these elections will not only determine the direction of gambling policy in individual states but also have broader implications for the industry as a whole. As states continue to grapple with the complexities of online gambling regulation, the decisions made by voters in 2024 will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future of online casino legislation across the country.

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