By Ken Edwards, 3 January 2019 Sports Betting experts have recently indicated that as many as 12-to-15 more U.S. states could potentially legalize sports betting in 2019, and up-to eight more could have fully-fledged and operating sports books ready to take wagers before the start of the 2019 NFL season next September. So far, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island and New Mexico have taken up legal sports betting, debunking sports betting as a political football and turning the pastime into a reality for a delighted sports mad and dedicated gaming public in each of those states. Following the U.S Supreme Court’s decision in May 2018 to hand sports betting back to the states for debate, discussion and eventual possible legalization, some states sped toward legalization at breakneck speed determined to turn previous black-market sports betting dollars into consolidated revenue for state coffers to fund public services, health and education programs and state infrastructure building projects. Since the slow winds of change of legislative and industry developments blowing across the nation in 2018 turned into a hurricane of legalization activity to close out the year, we’re expecting that the pace in 2019 will increase exponentially. With success stories such as the State of New Jersey smashing through the $1 billion mark in legal sports wagers recently, the sports betting legalization push has had many, many more good days than bad. Consequently, in addition to pending sports wagering legalization bills in traditionally strong states such as Ohio and New York, we’ve even seen legislative sports-betting bills tabled for discussion in Tennessee and Virginia, unbelievably, as both of those states do not even have legal casinos. With the beginning of the 2019 legislative sessions just a-matter-of days-away following the completion of the Holiday Season in January 2019, we analyze the most likely of states to pass legal sports betting legislation in 2019, with Iowa and Kansas not far behind these frontrunners: Washington D.C. – The District of Columbia is well-known progressive region that could use the District’s lottery body to run legal sports betting and perhaps share revenue with states with similarly small markets like Rhode Island and Delaware. Michigan – Michigan state Representative Brandt Iden has said he expects a bill introduced in 2017 to allow mobile and sports gaming to pass soon, and he hopes it will be signed by the Governor in early 2019. New York – Once the integrity fee issue (the percentage that the state will pay back to the professional leagues) is settled, New York will be in the sports betting club. Kentucky – Another case of not if, but when, the Bluegrass State will decide on whether the state’s Horse Racing or Lottery officials will administer sports wagering. Ohio – With already legal Pennsylvania to is direct north, Ohio must compete for the gambling dollar and the state’s newly-elected Governor will make it so. Louisiana – Another State where it is required to compete with an already legal neighbor (Mississippi) or lose out big on state revenue. Illinois – Political will and negotiation has shifted many ‘nays’ into the ‘yeas’ column. Watch for legislation introduced in Jan-Feb 2019. Missouri – Another State that simply needs to answer the integrity-fee question. Virginia & Tennessee – Interesting as neither have casinos. They could leap-frog straight into online sports betting models. Indiana – With strong college sports, Indiana’s legislators first need to decide on whether to include NCAA sports or not in their legislation. Connecticut – Connecticut have strong Tribal communities to appease, much as in already legal New Mexico. Massachusetts – Political in-fighting may be put to bed with neighboring Rhode Island recently opening their second sportsbook.