Maryland Senate

  • Maryland could have the largest sports betting market in the nation in terms of total sportsbooks with the passage of House Bill 940.
  • The proposal passed in the Senate on Thursday and will need one final reading before seeing a House vote.
  • MD HB 940 is under an emergency label to move in the Maryland General Assembly as it needs to pass before the 2021 session adjourns on Monday.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Senate has passed a Maryland sports betting bill during its second reading on Thursday with amendments that would include an unlimited number of sports wagering licenses. House Bill 940 was originally passed in the House on March 11 where the draft of the measure called for a total of 37 licenses within three different areas of the market.

However, the Senate chose to amend the bill to include no cap on mobile sportsbooks or Class B licensing. Class B includes any number of retail locations. Class A licenses are only capped by how many casinos, professional sports teams, and horse racing tracks exist in the state.

All of them are named as eligible for Class A licenses so while technically this tier for licensing is “capped” it’s really not as it extends to as many of these businesses are opened in Maryland.

What’s On House Bill 940’s Menu & What’s Next

House Bill 940 is currently labeled as an emergency bill because the Maryland General Assembly ends their session for 2021 on Monday.

While the Senate passed the newly amended version of the bill, they will take it to a roll call vote to have the numbers on record either Thursday evening or Friday in a third reading, and then it will be sent back to the House for a vote on the latest draft of the measure.

With answers being needed by Monday, in all likelihood, the House will see a majority vote for what will be the largest regulated sports betting industry seen in the United States in terms of having no limits to how many operators could enter the market. Maryland needed to have a proposal passed for the framework of the sports gaming industry that was regulated by the public through their November 2020 ballots by the end of its 2021 legislative session.

MD HB 940 is the only bill on the table and will see a favorable outcome. Both retail sportsbooks at stadiums and regular establishments will be seen along with mobile sportsbooks statewide. The Free State is gearing up to have the most competitive sports gaming market in the nation through the passage of this bill and they’re living up to their nickname as well by being free with the number of sports gaming operators eligible for licensing.

Maryland sportsbooks would allow for professional, collegiate, and international sports events to be wagered on among other competitions. The tiered format of licensing has to do with the fees that will be required by each of these businesses trying to branch into sports betting.

The state wants to take into account what companies can afford and the Baltimore Orioles could afford fees much higher than a neighborhood small business could for trying to obtain licensure for sports wagering. For organizations like the Baltimore Orioles or casinos, fees for a license could be as high as $2 million and for small businesses, they could be as low as $50,000.

All mobile and internet sportsbooks, either standalone or tethered to a retail business will be required to pay a fee of $500,000 for a mobile platform license. Retail sportsbooks of all types have a 13% rate on GGR with mobile outlets having a 15% tax rate on all handle brought in as is stated in the bill.

Where To Now?

House Bill 940 will have a third reading for a roll call vote in the Senate and then go to the House for a final vote before officially moving out of the Maryland General Assembly.

After that, the proposal will be going to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk where he will sign off on the measure that will turn it into law. The Governor has said he supports the sports betting market that Marylanders voted in favor of.

Insiders expect that Maryland could have the potential to be the biggest sports betting industry in the country to launch by the start of the 2021 NFL season.

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