Maryland Sports Betting

Legal sports betting in Maryland seems to be getting closer and closer, with recent news. In the last week of January, two bills are being heard by the Budget and Taxation Committee, and in early February their companion bills will be heard by the Ways and Means committee. This is great news for Maryland bettors, as it means the state is talking about it, and is quite aggressive with two bills being submitted. Both are very different though, so be sure to keep in mind which is which when monitoring the situation.

It is well-known that Maryland is for legal sports betting, the state just has to figure out exactly how to do it.

 

Two Bills for Maryland Sports Betting

There are two bills that are up for discussion, SB4/HB225 and SB58/HB169. Both have very different language, regulations and more. Let’s take a look:

SB4/HB225

  • Legalizes online sports betting
  • Each casino gets one sports betting license (six in state)
  • Each horse track gets a license (five in state)
  • Revenue taxed at 20%
  • $2.5M application fee required
  • $250,000 licensing fee, for one year
  • Pro and college events allowed
  • eSports allowed if participants are 18+ years of age
  • Quite detailed, as you can see here.

SB58/HB169

  • Does not legalize online sports betting
  • Filed in December, not many available details
  • Very short, as you can see here.

 

SB4 Would Legalize Online Sports Betting

There is no doubt which bill is better for bettors and the sports betting industry in Maryland, but unfortunately all that matters is what legislation passes. SB4/HB225 is, without a doubt, the best choice for responsible bettors and casinos alike as it allows for online sports betting. As many other states have shown, large portions of bets are made online. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey alone, some numbers show that over 85% of all bets are being placed online. If states truly want to make a lot in terms of revenue for the state, allowing online betting is the way to go as it allows more competition, which is always great for consumers. Not to mention a good amount of casinos applying and paying for licenses.

Given that a lot of Maryland borders Pennsylvania, a state that allows online sports betting, the state is legitimately losing business as some are traveling over state lines to make bets. In addition, with Delaware just a short drive for a lot of populated parts of Maryland, bettors can drive to one of the three casinos in Delaware to place bets as well.

 

When Can I Bet in Maryland?

While there is no set date, the introduction of both sports betting bills means that there is movement in the state government to legalize, regulate, and execute legal sports betting in the state. There is a rule in Maryland that requires a referendum for gambling laws to be changes in years that are even-numbered (2020, 2022, etc). This means there is an opportunity for the law to be passed by residents in Maryland this year. With neighboring states (and DC) all having a clear path, or already with legislation, it is quite important that Maryland acts quickly. With these bills being presented, optimism is certainly in the air for bettors in Maryland.

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Michael Rathburn
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