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Sports Betting Industry News

January 21, 2021


The most recent attempt by Georgia representative Ron Stepens to legalize sports betting has the potential to prove a lot. Stephens, along with five co-sponsors, filed HB 86 with the Georgia state government. HB 86 would effectively legalize Georgia sports betting which would be run by the Georgia Lottery.

Stephens has called his attempt at legalizing sports betting in the state of Georgia last year, HR 378, ambitious. HR 378, was a referendum that had asked for the formation of a gaming commission as well as approval for all the legal betting the commission would be able to oversee. Stephens also introduced a “Hail Mary” attempt at legalizing Georgia sports betting even later in the last session last year. Both failed.

With HB 86, the state would be able to legalize six solely online sportsbooks that would have remote registration available. If fewer than six applicants apply, the state can license less than six to operate in the state. Many southern states with the exception of Tennessee have not participated in the legal sports betting boom that has swept the country since 2018.

The state of Georgia is hoping to see traffic from nearby border states if it legalizes sports betting. That means traffic from Alabama, Florida, as well as South Carolina, among others. Revenue would be taxed at a rate of sixteen percent. Plus, the approved sportsbook operators would be required to pay $900,000 each year to train their licenses on top of a $50,000 application fee.


This new year brings only a small hope that the state of Florida will be able to legalize sports betting in 2021. Florida state Senator Jeff Brandes announced at the end of December that he has plans to try to legalize Florida sports betting through a trio of bills that will be introduced to the Florida legislative session.

One would legalize Florida sports betting with a licensing fee of one hundred thousand dollars. And, the revenue from Florida sports betting would be taxed at a fifteen percent rate. So, this would be basically the same legislation effort that had been introduced by state Senator Jeff Brandes last year.

The Florida Legislative session lasts for sixty days, opening on January 11th, 2021 and closing through March. But, there is a chance to have a special session or to extend the session with a three-fifths vote needed by each side of the state of Florida’s legislature. A special session would have to be called by the Governor or the President of the Senate in combination with the Speaker of the House, per the Florida Constitution. Special sessions end up being shorter as well as more specifically focused than the typical legislative sessions held by the state.


With the legalization of Michigan sports betting and iGaming back in 2019, all eyes have been on the state. Retail sports betting launched in Michigan in March of 2020. However, Michigan online sports betting has not been launched in the state — until now!

With the wrapping of a drawn-out process to establish rules in December 2020 for Michigan online sports betting, it appears that the launch could happen at any time. And, operators in the state are hoping to launch in time to take online sports bets on this year’s Super Bowl.

Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm seems confident that an announcement launching the legalization of online sports betting in the state could come any day now. However, no exact date or time has been announced as of this writing.

The plan right now is for Michigan’s Gaming Control Board to allow operators to launch in the state as soon as they are ready. But, we do not yet know which operators will be first. Plus, an approval from the Gaming Control Board in Michigan does not mean that the operator is able to launch immediately. There will still be some tests that will be required in order for the operator to launch in the state.

This means that it could take four or five days from approval through the Michigan Gaming Control Board to the launching of operations in the state for these operators. But, four or five days is not a very long time to wait considering how patient the state has been since 2019.

As of right now, it is expected that there will be fifteen different online sports betting operators in Michigan in 2021. These operators are expected to be: Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, Churchill Downs (which will be launching under the TwinSpires brand), DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, FOX Bet, GAN, Golden Nugget, Kambi, Parx, PointsBet, Scientific Games, William Hill, and WYNNBet. These operators have already been granted their provisional licenses.

Michigan online sports betting cannot come soon enough. Retail sports betting returns in the state were not great in December 2020 due to an ongoing national crisis. The three commercial casinos in Detroit were forced to shut down for a month, having an impact on Michigan sports betting sales. From the time of their launch, the state’s three retail sportsbooks have taken in $130.8 million in bets and $18.3 million in revenue.

Many online gambling fans are excited for pooled online poker in the states. The state of Michigan passed a law recently that allows for operators to pool poker players with its already operating poker players in other states.

However, this law still needs work before it can be enacted. So, Michigan may not see pooled online poker until the end of the year, unfortunately. Though, the state has already begun discussions with the state of New Jersey in association with pooling poker players.

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