How Are The U.S. Midterms Affecting The Gambling Industry?

Written by: Sadonna Price, OUSC Expert in Online Casinos and Poker
5 minute read

Midterm elections affect gambling industryThe 2018 midterm elections have ended, and with the voting process complete, there could be major changes ahead for the gambling industry in the United States. During the midterms, positions such as governor, Senate and House of Representative seats are up for grabs.

The individuals in such positions have the ability to decide if and when changes will be made regarding the gambling industry of each state. When politicians against gambling are in power, it can shift the momentum of the overall industry.

In the US, great strides have been made in online gambling. With individuals in power who disagree with such operations, it may become harder for states to pass legislation to get started.

Five States That Have Been Affected By The Midterm Elections

In the 2018 midterms, five states, in particular, will see an impact when it comes to their respective gambling industry. Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Illinois are the impacted states, with the changes either possibly having a positive or negative effect.

1. Arkansas Voters Approve Casino Expansion

Arkansasarkansas flag voters approved casino legalization in four counties – Garland, Crittenden, Jefferson, and Pope. Over 54% of voters approved the measure, which will see the Oaklawn horse track located in Hot Springs and the Southland dog track in the West Memphis area allowed to offer casino gaming.

This is a positive change for gambling, as the state will now be able to offer casino games, keeping revenues from leaving Arkansas as players visit neighboring areas to gamble.

2. Florida Residents Have A Say In Casino Decisions

florida flagAmendment 3 was on the ballot in Florida, asking voters to decide if the lawmakers of the state should continue to make gambling expansion decisions or if the people of the state should hold the power. Voters approved the measure which will now make it more difficult for gaming companies to build new casinos in the state.

Disney along with the Seminole Tribe, both spend over $20 million to support the anti-casinos initiative. Disney wants to maintain their tourism stronghold while the Seminoles want to hold on to their exclusivity when it comes to casino operations. Many online betting sites are worried that the changes will affect previously authorized gambling sites in the region.

Greyhound Racing Ban

During the midterm elections, Amendment 13 was also passed in Florida, banning greyhound racing in the state. Eleven tracks are currently in operation and will have to phase out their services by the end of 2020. A movement for greyhound adoption is now in the works in the hopes of finding homes for the dogs that will no longer be servicing the race tracks.

3. Louisiana Says Yes to Daily Fantasy Sports

louisiana flagDaily fantasy sports will soon be a reality in Louisiana as residents decided to approve an initiative to allow the contests. Out of the 64 parishes in the state, 47 were in favor of legalizing daily fantasy sports. Those who voted in approval will be able to offer the option.

Due to the state constitution prohibiting gambling, legislation triggering the ballot initiative reads that participation in a fantasy sports contest will not be considered gambling.

4. Michigan Online Gambling Supporter Re-Elected

michigan flagIn Michigan, Representative Brandt Iden was able to retain his seat within the State House, defeating democrat Alberta Griffin by a narrow margin of just 1,300 votes in the 61st District. The win will hopefully help to see the state begin offering online gambling as Iden has been a strong supporter of expanding the industry to the online realm.

In 2017, Iden proposed an online gambling bill, H 4926, that would allow the state to begin offering online casino gaming options. Known as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, the bill has been able to move forward in the House during this past summer, but it stalled in the Senate. Hopefully, by retaining his seat, Iden can further his work, pushing to see iGaming become a reality in the state.

5. New Illinois Governor in Favor of Sports Betting

illinois flagIn Illinois, a new governor could signal changes to the gambling industry of the state. Democrat J.B. Pritzker defeated the first-term Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. Pritzker has stated in the past that he would support sports betting legalization in the state.

Talks of a gambling expansion have been in the works within the state, and now with a supportive governor, legislation might be passed.

Changes In Other States

After the 2018 midterm elections, other minor changes have been felt in the following states:


Voters in Missouri decided to pass a measure that would give bingo in the state a boost. Now organizations will only need 6 months of membership to be allowed to offer bingo games.


54% of voters in Idaho rejected an initiative that would allow horse racing to take place in the state.


Voters elected Republican Mike DeWine as the new Governor of the state. DeWine has stated that he would support a well-regulated sports betting industry in the state.


With the newly elected state governor, Brian Kemp, efforts to legalize casinos may continue to stall. Kemp stated that he would oppose any casino legalization proposals if he won the race.

What Does The Future Hold For Gambling In The U.S.?

In states like Florida, it will now be much harder to expand the gambling industry thanks to the passage of the amendment. Even trying to add such options as online gaming will be an undertaking.

However, for other states like Michigan, Arkansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio we expect 2019 to be a big year. It seems these states will pass legislation regarding online gambling and hopefully, online casinos will be in the mix.

Despite a few setbacks with the 2018 midterms, we expect the New Year to start off with a bang as states look to various gambling options to increase their overall revenue numbers as well as offer quality entertainment to residents and tourists.

Sadonna Price

Sadonna Price OUSC Expert in Online Casinos and Poker

Sadonna is a former professional poker player. Passionate about writing and loves using her creativity to provide insight into the interesting gambling world.

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