One of the driving forces in the legalization of sports betting across the country is the promise of taxes paid by sportsbooks helping states. The states that have chosen to legalize sports betting can tax revenue from sportsbooks, potentially bringing in massive amounts of new revenue. The promise of that extra revenue for state and local governments to use has surely played a role in convincing some state legislators to make sports betting legal. Of course, how states choose to use that extra revenue is up to them. So, are any of them using it to help veterans?
In the USA, legal betting helped to generate roughly $35 billion in tax revenue in 2021. That number is only going to go up in the years to come with sports betting becoming more popular and more states legalizing it. According to usalegalbetting.com, at the time of writing, 37 states, as well as Washington D.C., offer some form of legal sports betting. In other words, a majority of states have started generating extra tax revenue thanks to sports betting. With all of the extra revenue states are generating, they should be able to put it to good use. But is that happening, specifically in relation to veterans?
The easy answer to that question is not everywhere. States are free to use the extra revenue from sports betting to address a variety of needs. But not all states are making veterans a priority with that money. For example, New York has pledged to put sports betting revenue toward education and youth sports. North Carolina, which recently paved the way for legal sports betting, will use the revenue for regional and local athletic initiatives. In South Carolina, there have been efforts made by state legislators to legalize sports betting with the proposed bill stating revenue generated would go toward “highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair.”
However, not all states are overlooking veterans when it comes to spending the extra revenue from sports betting. Ohio, for instance, is one of the national leaders in turning sports betting revenue into help for veterans. When the state approved sports betting, it also created the Ohio Sports Gaming Profit Veterans Fund. This fund is utilized by the Ohio Department of Veteran Services and receives a pool of money from sports betting revenue. That money will be put toward providing services for more than 800 veterans who live in a pair of veterans nursing homes.
Meanwhile, the state of Missouri is also hoping to assist veterans with sports betting funds if the Show Me State legalizes betting at some point. Unfortunately, efforts to legalize sports betting in Missouri have failed thus far with the state’s casinos standing in the way. However, Missouri State Senator Denny Hoskins, who has led the effort for sports betting, wants to use that revenue for education, veterans homes, and veterans cemeteries. If Missouri does legalize sports betting at some point, veterans and veterans causes stand to benefit.
Obviously, it’s disappointing that more states aren’t using the extra revenue from sports betting to help veterans. However, it is happening in some states, setting an example for others to follow. With sports betting growing more popular and a majority of states likely to keep collecting tax revenue from it, there will be more opportunities for states to use that money to help veterans.