- Maryland now has a foundation for its regulated sports betting market.
- House Bill 940 passed, allowing for a combined total of around 100 operators to be a part of the state’s marketplace.
- Maryland hopes to go live with its sportsbooks by the start of the 2021 NFL season.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland General Assembly reached the final day of its session on Monday with two votes required to pass House Bill 940 for a regulated sports betting market structure. The Senate needed a third reading vote on the legislation which passed in its second reading but no roll call was done for that passage.
However, the amendments made only days prior in the second reading were withdrawn and a new set of amendments were approved.
Through that, a second reading was held once again where the amendments passed and an hour later the third and final reading saw a unanimous vote of 47 YEAS and 0 NAYS for passage of the bill in the Senate. The last stop before seeing Governor Larry Hogan’s desk was the House for one last reading due to the amendments the draft had made since the House last approved the measure.
In the evening hours of Monday, the House of Delegates held a vote on the new version of the proposal which passed by a majority vote of 112-16-1, sending the bill off to the Governor.
There was a lot of movement in one day for House Bill 940 but it was needed to develop the format to regulate sportsbooks as the market was approved to become an official industry by residents of the state in November 2020. The Maryland General Assembly was tasked to come up with the rules and regulations for the sports wagering during the 2021 session that closed out on Monday.
What Will Be Seen Now That House Bill 940 Is Law In Maryland
An unlimited number of sports betting operators could have opened in Maryland with the amendments made to House Bill 940 days ago. Monday’s amendments have now made a cap set at 30 Class B licenses outside of establishments that have already been named. Class B sportsbooks are classified as small businesses and minority-owned businesses. Thus far, Washington, DC and Montana have been the only places in the nation to allow non-gaming companies to open sportsbooks.
Class A licenses will still go to the casinos, racetracks, and professional sports venues in the state, seeing no cap change. Mobile sports betting platforms are capped at 60 operators.
The reason for these amendments is because Maryland decided not to saturate the market for sports betting right out of the gate. Instead, should the state want more operators, they can expand upon the current cap in 2025 as is stipulated in the approved proposal.
There will be zoning areas for retail sports betting venues of the larger variety which is mentioned in the bill. An establishment could have a radius of 1.5 miles in exclusivity for sports wagering activity.
The age for gamblers is set at 21, regardless of the platform they choose to use. There will still be a variety of venues from locally-owned retail sportsbooks, to mobile sportsbooks, and big, professional sports team venues where betting can take place. The State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency will regulate the state’s sports wagering market.
Under House Bill 940, those that wish to bet on sports in Maryland will have plenty of betting markets to choose from. All sports are open for wagers, from collegiate to international, and everything in between. Licensing fees remain in a tiered format, taking into consideration how much a particular business can pay. However, all operators will be subject to a 15% tax rate on revenue from both land-based sportsbooks and mobile platforms.
After The Governor’s Signature
Now, with House Bill 940 passing in both chambers, Governor Larry Hogan will sign the measure into law. The regulated sports betting industry of Maryland plans to go live at the beginning of the 2021 football season. The timeline may be tight but lawmakers want to roll out the new market during its biggest time of year to capitalize on the industry from the start.
The sports betting community of the nation now welcomes Marylanders to the game, seeing a plethora of state-sanctioned sportsbooks to wager with come this Fall.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.