The states of Ohio and Arizona have begun public debates in their respective legislatures regarding the regulation of sports betting, whilst Canada has opened its doors to the market.

In the latest edition of the Legal Sports Report, the speakers discussed the developments in the two US states as well as in Canada, albeit prior to the passage of the country’s sports betting bill.

The podcast delved into the debate in Canada with regards to legalised sports betting, as the third hearing for the bill got underway on Thursday 17 June, shortly after the LSR team described the Canadian sector as needing to ‘hustle up’ on its regulatory process.

Commenting at the time, Gauker remarked: “We’re trending towards ‘optimistic’ right now in Canada. People are saying the right things, yet again, that sports betting is going to move forward. It could come up in the Senate anytime, this could become outdated even as we’re talking on the podcast. 

“Parliament is in session today, they might be talking about it today, but it’s in front of the full Senate now, it can be voted on or moved on – they have a short time to do this right now. We’re still talking about it, but this went from a slam dunk to a coin flip to ‘now we’re optimistic. It’s hard to handicap what’s going on.”

However, since the recording of the episode, Canadian legislators have given the full go-head for the opening of the market, in what has been described as a ‘major milestone’ by Paul Burns, President and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA).

Moving south of the border, the news coming out of Ohio was described by host Adam Candee as being both ‘good and bad’, adding the ‘real news’ was ‘the fact that something actually happened’.

Ohio’s Senate has passed a sports betting bill, which has now been moved over the state’s House of Representatives, ending what has been a two-year process to introduce the sector to the Midwestern market.

However, the start date for the opening of the market has been pushed back to April 2022, and Candee noted that legislators are ‘taking a very slow, cautious approach, to what they believe is going to take time to finish their bill and get registrations and applications set up’.

Dustin Gauker remarked: “With Ohio, there’s problems with the legislation and not everybody’s happy with it. 

“They’re another one of these states that seems to be trying to reinvent the wheel and how they do it, but there will be a lot of online brands and a lot of people. 

“This will be a successful market if and when they get this bill passed, and possibly next year – Ohio will be a successful market even if they try to mess it up.”

Moving onto Arizona, Matt Brown described the Southwestern state as ‘coming out of nowhere’ with regards to its sports betting regulation, whilst Candee referred to the historical American notion of ‘manifest destiny’ as the wagering industry moves westward.

Arizona has planned to launch the market on 9 September, but is currently reviewing four areas – the licence structure, fees, taxation and the number of skins.

Whilst taxation appears to be the main issue – in part due to Arizona’s conservative tendencies with regards to the issue – Brown noted that numerous partnerships are currently in place in the state between sports betting operators and venues such as golf courses and arenas, giving an idea of which firms will dominate the market.

Gauker added: “Not everybody’s got a dance partner yet in Arizona, but the big guys do have avenues into the state and there are already plans for retail sportsbooks, and we will get online sports betting. 

“If Arizona pulls all this off, I’m not sure there’s a state that went quite as fast as they have. Regulations aren’t even finalised, they’re saying everybody will be live by September 9.”

Source – Legal Sports Report YouTube Channel

LSR: Developments in Ohio and Arizona as Canada moves ahead