2019 is days away, so it is time to look ahead to what the new year might bring for the US gambling industry. It is time of rapid transformation for the US gaming industry, with new laws and regulations being debated at the state and federal levels.

The current sports betting laws in the United States should have profound effects on the gaming industry in the next year, as sportsbooks, daily fantasy sports companies, and eSports organizations adjust to the new rules. Sports leagues and tournament circuits also face new opportunities and challenges.

BestOnlineCasinos’ predictions are based on the evolving nature of gambling laws in the country. Online casinos and poker sites face a threat from new leadership in the US Department of Justice, while more states could consider iGaming.

Meanwhile, technology could change the way Americans gamble, both in the regulated and unregulated betting markets.

Prediction No. 1: Half Dozen States Authorize Sports Betting

At least a half-dozen US states with legalize sports betting in 2019. A look through the list of states likely to regulate sportsbooks shows that 6 is likely and 8 is possible. Here is a list of the most obvious states.

  • State Rep. Roger Chamberlain introduced a sports betting bill in Minnesota that has bipartisan support.
  • Michigan State Rep. Brandt Iden attached sports betting to his online gambling bill, HB 4926, which gives the bill a better chance of passing.
  • Incoming Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he supports a sports betting bill, claiming it is “inevitable”.
  • Virginia has an active sports betting bill now. With Washington DC approving sports betting apps, Virginia is more likely to follow suit.
  • Rhode Island is on the verge of allowing casinos in Tiverton and Twin Rivers to have sports betting. Once Rhode Island goes, Massachusetts is more likely to.

New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts all could legalize sports betting. New Mexico has one tribal casino with a sportsbook, but others could follow. Even southern states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, and North Carolina are predicted by some gaming analysts to be in the mix. A half-dozen US states are highly likely to regulate sports betting, but 8 is possible.

Prediction No. 2: No Federal Sports Betting Law

If the GOP does not push through a federal sports betting law by December 31st, we won’t have it in 2019. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) introduced a bill which would place authority for licensing sportsbooks in the hands of the US Department of Justice — not the individual states.

That bill is not likely to succeed. For one, Orrin Hatch is leaving the Senate and retiring for good on January 3. Two, the US Congress is about to leave Washington for Christmas and won’t be back in session the rest of the year. If senators won’t return for a vote on a continuing resolution for the annual budget, it won’t return for a sports betting vote.

Meanwhile, with an interim attorney general and a confirmation for a permanent attorney general on the way, no one wants to put another important function under the authority of the U.S. Justice Department.

Prediction No. 3: Restore America’s Wire Act Will Fail

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) plans to resurrect Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA), Sheldon Adelson’s pet bill to ban all online gambling in the United States. Senator Graham and other lawmakers on Capitol Hill have championed RAWA two times before — with less-than-encouraging results for opponents of legal online gambling.

BestOnlineCasinos predicts the third time is going to be more of the same. Support for RAWA simply does not exist.

The only chance a comprehensive online gambling ban is passed is if it’s tacked onto a more popular bill, like UIGEA was tacked onto the Safe Port Act back in 2006. Given the backroom deals and skulduggery that goes on in Congress, RAWA being attached to a spending omnibus or infrastructure bill remains a risk. A far greater risk exists for an online gambling ban, though.

Prediction No. 4: Attorney General Changes Online Gambling Policies

The 2011 DOJ opinion on online gambling is more likely to be overturned at the federal level of government than the sports betting laws. The Department of Justice’s lawyers are said to be preparing an opinion which overrules the 2001 DOJ opinion which said online poker and online casinos are legal under UIGEA and the Wire Act.

It’s our prediction that the DOJ opinion on online casinos and online poker is changed in late 2018 or early 2019. Having the

Prediction No. 5: Circuit Sports Will Embrace US Sports Betting More Than League Sports

The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL have embraced sports betting more than one would think, given the fact the four US sports leagues and the NCAA spent 6 years suing the State of New Jersey to assure sports betting remained banned in 46 states. Four NFL teams have signed partnership deals with casino-sportsbook operators.

That being said, sports which organize around circuits instead of league structures are likelier to embrace American sports betting faster. I’m talking about the PGA golf circuit, ATP and WTA tennis circuits, and NASCAR. The first three organizations are international in nature, so they already deal with bookmakers and sports betting exchanges. It’s comfortable to their leaders.

With several iconic racers either retiring or having down years, NASCAR ratings are down the past couple of years and the commissioner has smoothed the way for sports betting in 2019 already, as a way to boost ratings. Of the leagues, MLS soccer is the league most likely to embrace sports betting fully, as its commissioner has been a supporter for years.

Prediction No. 6: More Than Half of NFL Teams Will Sign Partnership Deals

That being said, four NFL franchises have been quick to embrace sportsbook operators: the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, and Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders. A casino company has signed a deal with each of the four teams — or, in the case of the Raiders, its future stadium. Many more teams will follow suit in 2019.

The New England Patriots‘ Robert Kraft invested in a DFS company. Either the Patriots will sign with DraftKings, MGM Springfield, or the Boston Harbor casino (less likely) in the coming year. Pennsylvania has legal sports betting now, so the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to sign deals.

Ohio’s Gov.-elect Mike DeWine predicted his state would legalize sports betting in 2019, so the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns might sign with local sportsbooks. The same can be said with Michigan and the Detroit Lions. The list goes on and on.

These are the top six predictions for the United States gaming market in 2019, but the subject of US sportsbooks and casinos is an expansive one. Many events will happen which are unpredictable, because of the sheer number of industry executives, technology purveyors, and legal authorities who contribute to the milieu. Keep reading Best Online Casinos in 2019 to see whether our predictions hit, and learn what the state of the gaming industry is whether we’re proven correct or not.

About the Author
April Bergman avatar
April Bergman

April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

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April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

READ MORE
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