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Maryland Close to Allowing Sports Betting

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Mar/10/2020

The state of Maryland is inching closer to allowing licensed sports betting, including statewide mobile.  Currently residents can only wager at a select number of online sportsbooks licensed in other jurisdictions.  Many of these companies do not accept bets from Maryland residents due to prior law enforcement actions that originated from the state.

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Maryland's efforts appear heavily focused on allowing the Redskins as one of nine prospective gambling license holders.

The other licenses would go to the state’s existing six casinos and to two owners of three of the state’s horse-racing tracks.  Each establishment is likely to partner with an existing online sports betting provider, examples of which include FanDuel, Draftkings or William Hill.

Maryland sports betting Senate Bill 4, Introduced by Sen. Craig Zucker (D-Montgomery, was moving swiftly.  On Tuesday (March 10) the Senate voted 47-0 for the legislation, which now goes to the House.  Both professional and collegiate sports betting would be permitted under the measure, including games involving state universities.

If the General Assembly approves the measure to allow wagering on professional and college sports, voters would have the final say in a November referendum.  This process was similar to what occurred in Colorado late this past year with sports betting narrowly winning.  It should be noted that the language in that referendum seemed to imply a tax increase.

The measure would permit sports betting at either a renovated Redskins stadium, or a new stadium built nearby. Redskins owner Dan Snyder met with Maryland lawmakers in January to discuss allowing sports betting at a new stadium.

The Redskins currently play in Landover, Maryland, in the suburbs of the nation’s capital. Talks have been ongoing with Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia on a new stadium to replace FedEx Field when its lease expires in 2027.

In addition to the state’s casinos, wagering would be allowed at horse racing tracks, including Pimlico Race Course, home to the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Laurel Park and the Maryland State Fair.

Bets could be placed in a sports-wagering lounge, on a self-service kiosk or machine in a facility with a license or through online sports wagering by someone physically located in the state.

Neighboring Virginia is expected to legalize sports wagering but not on its in-state college teams, two of which are among the most bet on in the nation (the Hokies and Cavaliers). 

West Virginia was among the first to offer sports betting in the US but its standalone books and mobile platforms have mostly disappointed.  That state's first online partner failed to deliver and a lawsuit emerged as a result.

Pennsylvania offers some of the better mobile sites but the competition is limited due to high taxation over the 30% mark.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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