The Utah Jazz is one of the NBA’s newest teams. Since joining the league in 2021-02, the Jazz have won three championships, making Utah one of the top franchises in all of sports. Daily sports betting news show (6-7 a.m. PT, ESPN2) which aims to enlighten the general sports fan with up-to-date analysis and reporting on the NBA’s hottest teams, players and key situations is viewed by millions each day. From the time they debut to their championship run, Jazz odds have been among the best in the business.
While Utah is not yet considered a gambling destination like Florida or Nevada, the growth of the state’s Internet gambling industry has made it more enticing to tourists looking to try their luck at the lottery or lotto. Local residents are also well acquainted with Utah’s reputation as a major leader in the development of online gambling, having hosted the World Series of Poker for years. The fact that Utah is home to the US Computer Society and the Game Players of America has only added to its popularity among online gamblers, especially those who enjoy playing games involving chance like the lottery. Utah is quickly becoming known as a “live lottery city.”
Recently, two members of the Utah State Legislature have introduced bills that would, if passed into law, increase gambling revenues in the state by creating a new state-owned fund to support sports betting sites. Representative Curt Stoepel of Layton wants to create the “Utah Sports Betting Fund,” which he says will attract new sports book operators to the state. Senator Jim Dabakis of Cedar City supports the creation of a state-run fund, saying, “The idea here is that the state gets a cut of the money and we’d be able to continue providing services to the residents of the state without having to raise taxes or service additional revenue,” he told the Deseret News. Governor Jack Jensen has also expressed support for the idea, telling the Associated Press, “I’m not sure how you get someone to start betting on teams in the state of Utah when they’re not doing it in their state…I guess maybe some incentives to make it easier.” He did not say whether these incentives would be sufficient to encourage state residents to bet on sports, saying instead, “we’ll have to see what the bill brings us.”
One measure that recently passed the legislature would regulate sports betting by mandating that licensed sports book operators to register with the state to transact business. It would also require all sports books to include a state seal, a logo, and be governed by a commission approved by the governor. The second measure would allow the state to require certain improvements to be made to its licensed bookmakers. According to the Associated Press, the bill’s author, Representative Curt Stoepel, “felt the need to put in the commissions to protect the consumer from being taken advantage of and the commission to ensure the integrity of the game.” He said he doesn’t know how the final legislation will impact sports betting in the state, but anticipates the measures will spur growth in the industry.
A new law that went into effect in January 2021 allows cities and municipalities to collect taxes on sports bets from online betting websites. According to the AP, Utah Governor Gary Brown is expecting to sign the tax into law during the upcoming session. The move comes as New Jersey and California already have similar laws in place. If a city implements a new law before other states, the laws in other states may preempt the new law. Therefore, online gambling could be blocked in several states if additional legislation is passed.
The final piece of legislation that goes into effect in 2021 involves a new regulation that allows cities and counties to enter into agreements with sports betting sites. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the measures “align the power of sports book owners with the authority of cities and counties to handle gaming revenue.” The agreement would also require sports betting sites to post a list of local events in six designated languages. The proposal is still in the committee stage and is expected to be introduced during the winter session.
Online gambling is illegal in most states including Nevada, but it remains legal in 18 states including Illinois, where a majority of the legislature is controlled by one party. The new Illinois law allows a resident of the state to open an account and make wagers through sports books. This will make the online sports betting process easier for residents of Illinois but will not impact other states entirely. It also means that anyone living in the state can open a betting account and make wagers through online gambling sites. The only way this will affect you is if you live in another Illinois county or have a business office in the state.
Sports betting has taken its legal status far beyond what it did before the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and European gambling commission legalized sports betting across the European continent. Now, anyone can log onto a sports betting website to place a bet. With the new Illinois laws coming into play, however, you’ll probably want to hold off on wagering any sort of money until the law becomes universally implemented throughout the United States.