Maryland has move one step closer to state regulated sports betting.

  • Residents could see legal Maryland sports betting in 2021 if bill MD HB 4 passes during the legislative session.
  • Residents will then be asked to vote on the matter in November which would turn the bill into law if they vote favorably.
  • The sports betting market in the Free State has the potential to see millions in revenue that could benefit the economy.

BALTIMORE – Bill MD HB 4 that would legalize sports betting in Maryland has made some amendments, allowing it to move to a second reading in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

On Tuesday, bill sponsor Sen. Craig Zucker (D) changed the layout of his proposal a bit to appease the Committee. In doing so, a second reading was requested and done on Wednesday presenting the new layout.

That second reading didn’t get the nod by the committee, but not all hope is lost for supporters of this bill.

Bill MD HB 4 Amendments

Bill MD HB 4 would make the gambling on sporting events legal in Maryland. It offers both mobile and internet platforms as well as sportsbooks at video lottery establishments. Bettors must be within state lines to access their mobile sports betting accounts.

The original six internet/mobile sports betting licenses were changed to nine as stated by Zucker in the second reading.

He also mentioned that off-track betting facilities would not have access to online sportsbook licenses, having to work with casinos to find a happy medium for accessibility to such outlets.

The inclusion of three racetracks was a change to his original proposal. He also added the Washington Redskins Stadium to be eligible to run a sportsbook.

The 20% tax rate on all revenue remained and lawmakers expect to see large profits from the high tax rate on the market.

Zucker expects annual revenue from sports betting to be about $20 million for the state of Maryland. An initial licensing fee is set at $2.5 million for any business that would like to apply for a license with over 1,000 video lottery terminals.

Less than 1000 terminals allow the fee to be lowered to $1.5 million, another amendment that was made. After that, a $250,000 yearly fee will be needed for renewing licenses to operate.

Both professional and collegiate events are available for gambling. Other events are also included as long as the majority of the athletes involved are over the age of 18.

The State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency would help the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission with the rules and regulations laid out for the sports betting market under MD SB 4.

Now What?

The second hearing with the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee did not prove to be fruitful. After going over the amendments of his proposal, Zucker was told that MD SB 4 would be laid over. This means the Committee requests another day to go over the information before hearing it again.

Due to it’s laid over status, the next reading will still be seen as the “second reading” of the bill rather than the third.

There is still plenty that needs to be done if MD SB 4 will be the bill that could potentially bring legal sports betting in Maryland. If the bill passes, it will be placed on the November 2020 ballot for voters to decide if they want to wager on sporting events legally in the Free State.

The legislative session ends on April 6, 2020. Lawmakers will need to make a decision by then. Another reading of MD HB 4 should take place on Friday.

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