Late in 2017, Pennsylvania passed a law that gave its land-based casinos the right to offer online gambling within state borders. Poker sites and internet casino operations are expected to launch in 2018. But also included in that new law is a provision for licensed and regulated sports betting, should this favorite American pastime become legal at the federal level.

Prospects for Legal Sports Betting in Play in More than 30 States in 2018

Several states believe the odds of the US Supreme Court lifting a federal ban on sports betting across the country in 2018 are good. (Image: clutchpoints.com)

Many experts believe this is the year that will see major changes in sports betting. Gambling legislation tracking firm Eilers & Krejcik released a new report last week that predicts 18 states will float bills to legalize sports betting in 2018.

And that’s just a minimum, report authors said, citing as many as 30 states where such measures seem possible.

The report also identified 11 states where legislation was likely to pass this year.

That doesn’t mean, however, that sports books across the country will be ready to take action on 2018’s March Madness. All of these pending sports betting bills are contingent on either a Supreme Court decision or future federal legislation.

Waiting on SCOTUS

Nevada has long been the only state with legal sportsbook in the US, but 11 other states may pass legislation 2018, with many additional states to introduce a bill, according to a report.

Along with Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana are the only other states exempt from the federal sports betting ban. But the latter three states have never licensed operators to accept wagers.

New Jersey’s soon-to-be ex-governor Chris Christie (his term ends Jan. 16) opened a can of worms when he pushed for the federal government to lift the ban on nationwide sports betting, allowing individual states to make their own decision on the issue.

Thanks to Christie’s fight to allow folks all across the country to gamble on sporting events, the Supreme Court is currently considering lifting the ban. A decision is expected to be released by June.

At that time, if the ban is lifted, many lawmakers around the country are expected to begin introducing pro-sports betting bills.

States Eilers & Krejcik Predicts Will Pass a Sports Betting Bill in 2018:

Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky
Massachusetts
Michigan
New Jersey
New York
Ohio
Oklahoma
Rhode Island
West Virginia

Outlook for Online Poker

The outlook for online poker in the US, however, doesn’t look as bright.

Pennsylvania recently became just the fourth state to legalize online poker, joining New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, and only the first since 2013.

Many lawmakers in other states, including California and Michigan, have debated the benefits of legalizing online gambling, but to no avail.

Conventional wisdom says that gambling bills are hard to pass during election years, but the state of New York appears to be in play and has picked up some traction in recent months.

Both online gambling bills introduced in 2017, A 5250 and S 3898, remain active as the 2018 New York Legislature session begins.

The proposed measure has twice passed the state Senate, but the Assembly never cared enough to even vote on it. The same issue could arise this year but, being optimistic, perhaps the third time is a charm.