• Sports Betting In Maryland Will Have To Be Legalized Through Voter Referendum
  • The Decision Comes From Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Those hoping to see Maryland sports betting come to fruition this year may have to wait even longer to have an official say. According to Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., “sports betting is going to have to wait until next year.”

The reason being is that in order to expand gaming in Maryland it would have to require a constitutional amendment via voter referendum. The next state-wide vote will be in 2020, but if passed, the regulations and licensing processes will likely delay sports betting until 2021.

Many were hoping to see sports betting pass this year or at least put on the upcoming ballot, including Maryland Senator Chris West. West introduced a sports betting bill, known as MD SB 470, to the Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation earlier this week.

The bill would have put the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission in charge of overseeing and regulating sportsbook operators in the state. Only those who hold a video lottery operation license or a license for Harness and Thoroughbred racing could apply offer sports betting.

A 2007 measure passed by voters requires that any commercial gaming expansion to be authorized in Maryland must be done so through a referendum. Lawmakers thought that putting the State Lottery in charge it would have allowed them to bypass the measure, but that is no longer the case.

The Senate President has insisted that any ballot measures that are approved by the General Assembly must be done so on the same year as voters have a chance to approve it as well. There does seem to be hope that proposals such as MD SB 470 will reappear next legislative session.

“This is kind of a preview of what you’ll see next year,” said West, when referring to his bill.

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