Three more states – Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota – decided to allow sports betting through citizens’ vote on Tuesday’s election. All three markets are expected to launch sports betting by 2021.

Currently, 19 states have legal sports betting. Now, these three states, along with Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, will be added to this ever-growing list sometime in 2021. After their inclusion, the total number of US states and jurisdictions with a regulated market will swell to 27. This means that by the end of the next year, half of the country is likely to have legalized sports betting.

The fourth state, Nebraska, allowed casino gaming in a move that experts believe is one step closer to sports wagering in the state. Besides Nebraska, more states, including Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Vermont, also have bills pending in Congress and could join the club with regulated sports betting before 2021 is over.

Sports Betting in the US

The US sports betting market has flourished dramatically over the past two years. In May 2018, the US Supreme Court nullified the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. It was the federal law that banned regulated sports betting, with the notable exception of Nevada, for 26 years.

Since the striking down of PASPA, as many as 19 states and the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington have passed legislation seeking to launch sports betting markets. When Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota are added to the stream in 2021, more than half of the US states will have legal sports betting.

According to the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association Bill Miller, as many as 44 states currently allow some form of legal gaming. He added that more than 45% of American adults (115 million) reside in states with legal, regulated sports betting industries.

What’s Next for These Three States?

Despite voters’ approval in the three states, sportsbooks will not be able to launch until the legislatures define rules and regulations for each market. The referendum questions have simply obtained popular approval. For now, these states are a step closer to regulate their sports betting industries, but there is still a long way to go before their predicted launch in 2021.

Referendum Results


The Louisiana campaign that was announced a success shortly after 11 p.m. reflected residents’ desire to make the Sugar State a legalized sports betting market. 55 of the state’s 64 parishes passed sports betting.

State lawmakers will take up the regulatory framework to discuss, debate, and finalize the industry, which could take some time. Some conservative lawmakers could delay the process as they did with daily fantasy sports that, despite being legalized in 2018, could not see the light of the day.

In any case, the Louisiana legislature will not take up the sports betting regulation issue until lawmakers are back in session in April 2021. If all goes well, sports betting could launch by the next football season.


Maryland residents approved sports betting by 66.3% to 33.7%, with 100% of votes counted. The Old Line State will now decide on the regulatory aspects of the matter when Congress returns to session.

According to estimates, Maryland could draw around $18 million in revenue from the industry. The state will reportedly charge sports betting at a 20% clip, disbursing 19% to education and 1% to the minority businesses. The licensing fees would be ranging between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

South Dakota

Sports betting passed in The Mount Rushmore State by a 59% to 41% margin, with a 90% vote count. South Dakota appears to be the state allowing the most limited sports betting industry compared to the other two, as the referendum specifically allowed sports betting in Deadwood, along with the 11 tribal casinos.

Another hitch with South Dakota sports betting is the potential for online sportsbooks. Initially, it looked like only in-person sports betting would be allowed in Deadwood, along with the tribal casinos. However, that could change. Now, it is likely that operators could establish their venues in Deadwood before launching mobile betting across the state.

It is yet to be seen how the legislature address this contentious issue next year.

Scroll to Top