While most of the discussion surrounding the 2018 midterm elections revolved around control for each political party, several ballot measures involving sports betting were also voted on.
In Florida, an amendment was passed that will make it much more difficult for the state to legalize sports betting.
Other opponents of the amendment said it would “potentially close the door” on sports betting legalization in the state.
The Miami Dolphins sent out a tweet Monday highlighting their concerns over Amendment 3, claiming that if the legislation passes, it “would effectively block any chance for sports betting in Florida.” The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also lobbied against the amendment, as did online betting sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment that legalizes sports betting in the state.
More than 54 percent of Arkansas voters cast ballots favoring the measure.
Issue 4 in Arkansas explicitly included sports betting as a legal form of gambling. The measure also approved casino-style gambling at four locations in the state. That would happen via authorization of licenses by the state.
Approved locations include two existing racetracks and two proposed casinos in the vicinity of Little Rock. The current dog-racing tracks with gambling are Southland (near Memphis, Tenn.) and Oaklawn (outside Little Rock) The proposed facilities would be located in Jefferson and Popecounties.
South Dakota will have to wait until 2020 to vote on its sports betting ballot measure.
“Unfortunately, with the timing with the Supreme Court ruling it was too late to get it into this recent election,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Deadwood Gaming Association.
On Oct. 23, an initiated constitutional measure to authorize the Legislature to legalize sports gambling in Deadwood was submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Rodman’s group will now submit revised language — for example, using “wagering on sporting events” rather than “sports bets” — to the attorney general, who will give the initiated measure a title and explanation. Pending approval by the Secretary of State’s office, the measure can be circulated for signatures equal to 10 percent of the most recent gubernatorial election to get on the November 2020 ballot. All petitions are due by Nov. 4, 2019.
Los Angeles Kings president Luc Robitaille suggests that legal sports betting could allow NHL teams to lower ticket prices.
“If teams profit, then everybody will profit,” he said. “If you go by the numbers on the illegal part, it’s pretty significant. If that part ends up on the team side, I think it’s going help everyone. First of all, the [salary] cap will go up. Fans will be happy. Teams will spend more money on players. Players’ salaries will go up.”
But Robitaille believes that the revenue created around sports wagering — advertising, sponsorships and the like — could be so considerable that the savings might be passed on to the fans.
“You would think this would help with always putting the pressure on fans to keep paying … hockey is still a ticket business, primarily. Hopefully that helps offset some of the ticket pricing. I’m not sure about it, but it could if the money is significant enough. There’s a lot that could go around it,” he said.
“I’m not going to guarantee it’s going to bring down ticket prices, but it might hold the raise a little bit. If a team plans on raising ticket prices by 8 percent, they might only raise them by 5 or 4 percent. If there’s a lot more money at the table, it makes everybody’s life easier.”
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