Maryland House of Representatives

  • HB 940 would allow sports wagering in Maryland casinos and racetracks.
  • Maryland voters approved sports betting through a referendum in November 2020.
  • The bill would also grant 10 mobile-only licenses to gambling operators in Maryland.

BALTIMORE — The highly anticipated bill HB 940, a measure that would legalize sports betting in Maryland, was discussed on Thursday, marking the start of what could be a lengthy political process to bring sports lines to land-based casinos and mobile screens in the state.

HB 940 was proposed by (D)Rep. Adrienne Jones, who is also the House Speaker. The bill was laid out to the Ways and Means Committee in a meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The synopsis of HB 940 reads: “Authorizing sports wagering license holders to accept wagers on sporting events by certain methods and in certain locations; requiring certain fantasy competition operators to register with the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission under certain circumstances; requiring the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to regulate sports wagering in the State”.

If passed as submitted HB 940 would grant sports betting licenses to casinos, racetracks, as well as bars/restaurants in Maryland. The plan would make 13 retail licenses available with eight already put aside for gambling operators at racetracks and casinos in the state already. There would also be 10 mobile-only licenses available for competitive bidding in what will likely be a market full of bidders.

The competitive bidding for gambling licenses in Maryland will likely raise even more funds for a state that has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Creating a competitive gambling market early is what could make the Maryland betting market among top-grossing markets in the United States.

As companies prepare for the bidding war, DraftKings has tapped on a familiar person to lead their effort to acquire a legal sports betting license in Maryland.

MLB and Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. being a part of DraftKings doesn’t guarantee them a spot in Maryland’s market just yet but it’s safe to assume they’ll be a major player in the bidding process.

After the first reading of the bill, it is now in the process of being referred to a Senate Committee and then will have to pass through Maryland’s House of Representatives. While it’s still early in the political process there should be optimism surrounding the bill as businesses are lining up to stake their claim in the market.

Despite the political hoops legalized sports betting still has to go through in Maryland, being able to bet on sports in Maryland could launch by fall 2021 right before football season.

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