iGaming, Coming Soon To Maryland?

iGaming Bill Introduced in Maryland

Just a few months following the launch of online sports betting in the state, a pair of Maryland lawmakers are turning their attention towards iGaming.

Maryland Senators Ronald Watson and Nancy King introduced an iGaming bill – SB0267 – that would place a referendum question on the 2024 general election ballot for residents in Maryland to vote on. The question would be: “Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize Internet gaming for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”

If 60% of both Maryland legislative chambers approve the bill, then it will appear on the 2024 ballot before its voters.

Details Of New Maryland iGaming Bill

According to the language in the bill, SB0267 would legalize online casino games in the state, as governed by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

Operators could apply for an iGaming license in the state, valid for five years, at a cost of $500,000. After five years, the operator would be able to renew their license for a fee “equal to 1% of the internet gaming licensee’s average annual proceeds retained by the licensee.”

No tax rate has been mentioned nor a maximum for the number of operators that the agency would allow if the bill is pushed through.

However, the bill does state how the money will be distributed. Operators will keep 85% of the proceeds that they receive – the remaining 15% is to be transferred into the State Lottery Fund, which will then be placed in the Education Trust Fund.

The Education Trust Fund was established in 2018 after PAPSA was repealed. Through SB1122, “the Education Trust Fund is a special fund that is separate from the State’s General Fund and currently used for the continued funding of the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act formulas and programs.”

Responsible Gaming Trending Upwards

Per the legislation, all operators must have the words “‘if you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER’ or some comparable language approved by the commission to be displayed prominently at log-on and log-off time to any individual visiting or logged onto an internet gaming platform.”

Ohio sports betting, which recently launched on Jan. 1, required all of its operators to prominently display responsible gambling messages on their platforms. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has fined several operators for failure to comply.

Massachusetts is also getting ready to legalize retail sports betting this month and online sports betting in March. Its gaming commission has made responsible gaming practices a cornerstone of their conversations throughout the legislative process.

Another Long Wait?

If iGaming does make it to the 2024 ballot and is subsequently approved by the people of Maryland, there is no telling how long it will be before the state can actually play online casino games.

Maryland voters overwhelmingly approved sports betting in November 2020, and yet it took over two years for anyone to place a sports bet in the state, having just launched in late 2022.

If Maryland legislators are able to speed up the process this time around, Maryland residents will likely get to play casino games online in 2025.

Mia Fowler is a graduate of Chapman University where she studied business marketing and journalism and played on the women’s soccer team. Following her 16-year journey with soccer, she started writing for Lineups.com. She specifically enjoys analysis of the NFL.

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