Senate Bill 4 that will legalize sports betting in Maryland has been passed.

  • The Senate passed Maryland Senate Bill 4 to legalize sports betting in the state on Wednesday.
  • Sports betting legalization will now be placed on the November 2020 ballot for a public decision on the issue.

ANNAPOLIS, Md.Senate Bill 4 that would legalize sports betting in Maryland was passed in the House on Tuesday. The vote was almost unanimous with 129 YEAS and 3 NAYS.

The Maryland General Assembly expedited the hearing as they will be shutting down three weeks early due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers were in favor of the bill as they’d just like to get it on the November ballot for the public to decide.

Amendments Galore

While Maryland scrambles to finish their legislative session early, they have decided to pass MD SB 4 but with heavy amendments to the original bill. Over 23 pages of bill sponsor, Senator Craig Zucker’s (D) draft were struck by those that attended the hearing.

At this point in time, members of the General Assembly would much rather get the bill to the ballot and work out the details later if residents vote in favor of legal sports betting which requires a constitutional amendment.

The question that would be raised to voters in November, according to the new amended draft, would be:

“Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and event betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”

With the emphasis geared toward funding the state’s education system, it is the hope that this wording will help pass the bill into law by the constituents of Maryland as a poll showed the state was split on the topic of legal sports betting. The new draft of the bill has no set operators listed that could open up sportsbooks.

There will also be a study done called a Minority Business Enterprise Disparity Study to be sure that minorities in Maryland would be included in the gaming market just as much as any other resident would be. The priority amid the expedited session was to simply get this bill on the ballot for voters.

Final Day In Session

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wednesday marked the last day in session for the Maryland General Assembly. One final pass through the Senate was required before Senate Bill 4 could move forward to Governor Larry Hogan and the November 2020 ballot for a public vote.

The Senate voted in favor of legalizing sports betting in Maryland through MD SB 4 with a unanimous vote of 45 YEAS in its final hearing. Sports betting in Maryland could launch in 2021 now that it has finally been passed by lawmakers.

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