Last Updated on March 11, 2021

Maryland Sports Betting

Maryland is pushing a massive sports betting bill (HB940) through the State House by a 130-9 vote and onto the senate. This recent development in the House is a huge step forward.

Voters in Maryland voted in a referendum to legalize online sports betting by an overwhelming margin in November. The referendum vote ensured that sports betting would be coming, but it’s up to Maryland state legislators to decide on how it will be implemented.


Maryland Sports Betting Licenses

There are a few different ways for states to implement sports betting. Some states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island favor lottery-run systems with high taxes and only one operator. Other states like New Jersey and Michigan offer many licenses, also known as skins, ensuring that there are a ton of different operators on the market.

Maryland’s plan seems to align more with the models in New Jersey and Michigan. The legislation that just passed the house would include 37 different sports betting licenses, categorized as Class A, Class B, and Mobile Betting Licenses:

  • 12 Class A Licenses
    • For brick-and-mortar establishments (includes professional sports stadiums)
    • $250,000 per license — Renew for $50,000
    • These licenses are available to six in-state casinos, three racetracks, three professional sports stadiums (Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Football Team), and the Riverboat on the Potomac
  • 10 Class B Licenses
    • Awarded to local businesses through a bidding process
    • $50,000 per license — Renew for $10,000
    • Preference is given to small, local, and minority-owned businesses
  • 15 Mobile Betting Licenses
    • Available via a bidding process to online operators
    • $500,000 per license — Renew for $100,000

The bill sets a tax rate of 15% on mobile sports betting winnings of up to $5 million. Anything over that number will be taxed at 17.5%. Maryland legislators seemed to have found a happy balance that includes plenty of stakeholders. This will result in a robust market for Maryland sports bettors.


Next Steps For Maryland Sports Betting

From this point forward, the bill moves to the Maryland State Senate. The current bill is likely to make it through without too many changes. If the Maryland State Senate does make any alterations, the bill will have to go back to the House and pass again.

Regardless, this bill has serious legs and it looks likely to pass in close to its current form. The legislative session ends on April 12 and there is serious optimism that this sports betting bill will be completed by then. In terms of a full-scale launch in Maryland, that won’t happen overnight. Nonetheless, this is massive news for the state.