Maryland sports betting could be decided by voter referendum in 2020

  • The sports betting bill in Maryland that was pre-filed is MD SB 58.
  • If Passed, sports betting will ultimately be decided by a voter’s referendum.
  • Sportsbooks will likely not appear in Maryland until 2021.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Lawmakers have pre-filed a Maryland sports betting bill that will be discussed and voted on in 2020.

Not Too Many Details Available

MD SB 58 is the bill that State Senator Chris West has filed for 2020. In its current iteration, the bill is only two pages long. There are many details that are currently missing from the sports betting bill.

One of the key factors that are currently missing is how sports betting is going to be taxed. Many different states have argued extensively about the sports betting tax rate. In fact, some states were not able to legalize sports wagering due to disagreements about the tax rates.

Lawmakers need to create a tax rate that will not sink businesses but will allow them to fund various programs. Licensing fees are also completely unknown as well. No matter what they decide, legal sports betting in Maryland will fund education programs.

Where Sportsbooks Could Open In Maryland

Where sportsbooks can operate is a bit more decided than the tax rate. The bill states that operators who hold a video lottery operation license or one for thoroughbred and harness racing can operate a sportsbook. In short, casinos and pari-mutuel tracks have the potential to operate sportsbooks in Maryland. There are six casinos and five different horse tracks in Maryland.

An issue that will need to be decided during the 2020 legislative session is the matter of mobile sports betting.

States with mobile wagering have had much higher revenue reports than those who have limits on mobile sports betting. Passing a bill with mobile sports betting is essential to the success of Maryland sports betting.

Although the bill does not currently have mobile wagering, there is time to add it. Lawmakers in Maryland have the 2020 legislative session to decide on what the state needs for sports betting.

If MD SB 58 passes in the state legislature, that is not the end of it. Residents of Maryland will need to vote to legalize sports betting in the state in November in 2020. If voters do end up approving the measure, sportsbooks will likely open sometime in early 2021.

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