Maryland Sports Betting Bill Advances To Senate

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Sports betting in Maryland moved closer to a launch date today after proposed onsite, online, and mobile sports wagering legislation cleared the House of Delegates by a wide margin.

House legislators advanced the proposal on a vote of 130-9 with little debate after more than a month of committee talks produced a broad-based bill. Strong majority support combined with powerful backing by lead sponsor and Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne A. Jones sets the bill up for success in the Senate.

What’s In The House Proposal

The House proposal was beefed up in recent days with an expanded number of sports wagering licenses and registration requirements. Those include:

  • Onsite licenses for casinos, horse racetracks, pro sports venues, and the state fairgrounds
  • 15 licenses for online bets and mobile betting apps
  • 10 licenses for in-person betting at sports facilities not tied to racing or casinos
  • Registration of fantasy game operators (initial registration fee of $50,000 per operator) with 15 percent of proceeds to state

Changes could be made in the Senate, but the hope is that any upper-chamber tinkering won’t affect the bill’s chance to become law this year.

Economic Benefit To Maryland

Legal sports betting would give Maryland and its businesses a chance to keep a percentage of the nearly $3 billion now illegally wagered on sports each year in the Old Line State. That could mean $364M a year in legal sports betting revenue per year, with an estimated $15.8M in new special fund revenue generated for the state in Fiscal Year 2022. The new revenue stream is projected to gradually increase to $19 million by FY 2026.  

State revenue numbers include upfront licensing fees as well as application fees ranging from $500,000 for a mobile sports betting license to $50,000 for a Class B license for betting sites not directly tied to gaming.

What’s Next

The road to legalized sports betting in Maryland began last November when voters approved a statewide ballot measure allowing this year’s legislation to proceed. Once a bill becomes law, the implementation phase can begin. That puts Maryland about halfway through the process now that a bill has reached the Senate. 

The next big step is a launch. That probably won’t happen until March 2022, which is why no state revenue from sportsbooks is expected until after the next fiscal year begins July 1, 2021.

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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