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How the Gaming Industry Is Impacted by 2020 State Elections

During the 2020 election, six states had ballots that included gaming questions or referenda to be determined by voters. All were approved. Below is an overview of the gaming advances that were ratified across the country on Election Day.

Colorado
Voters approved Amendment 77, which will allow casinos in certain cities to increase or remove existing bet limits (currently $100 on a single wager) and to approve new types of casino games to be offered in those locations. Casinos in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek will benefit. The amendment will also allow certain cities to use casino tax revenue to benefit community colleges and related higher education initiatives.

Louisiana
Louisiana voters in 55 of 64 parishes approved legal sports betting. Under the approved measure, legalized betting could technically begin in late 2021, but will most likely be ready for play closer to 2022 as the state works through regulatory and implementation matters. All parishes that are home to the state’s casinos approved the measure.

Maryland
Voters approved the legalization of sports betting with a 67% majority vote. Although elected officials still need to pass critical follow-up legislation and regulations will need to be implemented subsequently, legal sports betting could technically begin sometime in 2021.

Nebraska
Voters approved three measures that would amend the state’s constitution to allow casino gambling games (“games of chance”) at state-licensed horse racing tracks in the cities of Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus and South Sioux City. The move also calls for the creation of a state gaming regulatory body and authorizes a 20% tax on gaming revenues. Outstanding questions that linger as a result of this approval include the looming impact of cannibalization to the Iowa gaming market, how the state will approach partnerships with tribes, and whether they will incorporate legalized sports betting.

South Dakota
Voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow sports betting in the city of Deadwood, as well as the state’s Native American gaming facilities.

Virginia
Voters approved the addition of casinos to four cities in Virginia. Thanks to the passage of a referendum question placed on the ballot via legislation passed earlier this year by the Virginia General Assembly, the cities of Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Danville will now each be eligible to become home to a new casino. With this development, Virginia becomes the 26th state in the U.S. to call itself home to commercial casino gaming operations. Each of the cities has already announced partnerships for the development of their casinos, a step that was taken ahead of the election. The partnerships are as follows: Bristol – Hard Rock International; Portsmouth – Rush Street Gaming; Norfolk – Pamunkey Indian Tribe; Danville – Caesar’s Entertainment. The move has been projected by the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission to generate nearly $260 million in annual gaming taxes for the state.

If you have any legal, regulatory or legislative questions related to casino gaming or lotteries, please contact a professional in the Bose McKinney & Evans Gaming Group.