Maryland sports betting

Maryland moves closer to regulated sports betting

The US state of Maryland has moved closer to legalising sports betting, after the Senate agreed to push things forward.

SB4, sponsored by Senator Craig Zucker, was passed with a unanimous agreement of 47 votes for and zero against.

What would a regulated Maryland sports betting market look like?

If the bill comes into force, six Maryland casinos and three racetracks would be able to offer online and land-based sports betting. The vertical would also potentially be allowed at a Washington Redskins stadium and practice facility.

Last weekend, a bill to legalise sports betting in Virginia passed both the House and Senate. This is another state looking to attract the above-mentioned NFL outfit to play there.

Operators would be able to offer markets on both professional and college sports, including Maryland-based college teams. Players would also be able to place bets on competitions that are authorised by an eSports governor.

The tax rate would stand at 20%. 19% of this revenue would go towards the funding of education, with 1% allocated to the Minority Business Enterprise Program.

Licences would be available for a fee of $2.5 million if an operator has 1,000 or more video lottery terminals, or owns a professional sports team. For those with fewer than 1,000 video lottery terminals, this will be priced at $1.5 million.

These permits can renewed every five years, for 25% of the original price paid.

What happens next?

Now that the Senate has agreed to pass the bill, it will be moved onto the House. Should it clear the next hurdle, a referendum would be held before being passed into law.

This public vote would take place in November 2020, around the same time as the upcoming election.

The bill has support in the House – Governor Larry Hogan has expressed support for legal sports betting in Maryland before.

If the vertical is not legalised this year, the Free State will have to wait until 2022 to try again.

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