Maryland Senate.

  • Maryland is close to solidifying a foundation for its regulated sports betting market.
  • House Bill 940 has passed in the House and is now seeking the approval of the Senate to become law.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee held a hearing on Thursday for House Bill 940 that would offer the landscape to a regulated sports betting industry in Maryland.

The public voted in favor of the market through their November 2020 ballots with more than 80% wanting local sports wagering options. The 2021 Maryland General Assembly was given the task of approving a bill that would set the foundation for the new market.

House Bill 940

House Bill 940 has already passed through the House by a vote of 129-10 on March 11. It was introduced to the Senate on March 12 where it was referred to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee for Thursday’s hearing. No votes were taken during the meeting but discussions took place listening to various parts of the bill.

The version of MD HB 940 that was heard Thursday allows for a combined 37 sportsbooks in Maryland to be licensed. Twelve Class A licenses will go to land-based establishments like major league venues or casinos as well as fifteen mobile sportsbook platforms and ten Class B licenses that give minority small businesses the chance to open up sports betting to their customers.

DFS, international, college, and professional sports will all be open for action under this proposal. Operators will need to pay the state 15% of their GGR until they’ve reached the $5 million point where they will then see a tax rate on revenue of 17.5%. Anywhere from $15-$19 million of that revenue will be going to fund education while any residuals over $19 million will go directly to the state and its general fund.

The First Senate Committee Hearing

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee seemed pretty enthusiastic about hearing this bill. The meeting had well over an hour of talking about the various aspects of it. Overall, the Senate will likely pass House Bill 940 because the sports betting industry of Maryland needs rules and regulations to be in place before the 2021 legislative session ends.

Speakers went over the provisions of the bill such as addressing problem gambling and being able to provide initiatives in the state to combat it. There will be exclusivity zones of fifteen miles from any land-based sportsbook where other mobile sports wagering applications would not be able to be used while in the vicinity. Prop bets on penalties or possible player injuries would be excluded from wagers to keep with the integrity of the games.

All of this as well as the details of the 37 licenses was spoken about for the committee to better understand the bill before them. A handful of testimony was heard from women-owned and minority small-owned businesses who all want to open sportsbooks at their establishments and are happy that ten licenses are being made available to them by Maryland through MD HB 940.

What’s To Come

A Maryland regulated sports betting market will happen for the state in 2021 and House Bill 940 will likely be what takes it there. There was no vote on the bill in the committee as it was just introduced.

It will be heard again for a vote before it can move to the next committee. The session adjourns on April 12 and with a passage of House Bill 940, it would be enacted into law on June 1 with Governor Larry Hogan’s approval first, of course.

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