Maryland sports betting was legalized by the voters during the 2020 November election. However, this vote only asked if Maryland should legalize sports betting. The proposition did not set up the framework, oversight, or regulatory bodies needed to actually launch sports betting. Now, moving into 2021, the Maryland legislature is hard at work defining the rules and setting up that legal framework.
The House of Representatives established a bill, HB 390, that ironed out every last detail to launch sports betting. While this bill has passed in the House, there are new reports emerging that the Senate would like to rewrite several portions of the bill before passing it themselves.
The Senate is looking for more bettor and sportsbook-friendly rules by expanding retail betting and lowering the tax percentage that is currently in place. If this is the route that the Senate goes it will need to pass it and then get reapproval from the House. Regardless, it seems that sports betting is getting extremely close in the Old Line State.
Changes from HB 390
House Bill 390 sets up a lot of things, and it goes into great detail in explaining the framework of how sports betting will work in Maryland. Currently, 37 licenses would be allowed, with some of those licenses going to professional sports teams: The Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Washington Football Team. The house bill does limit these sports betting licenses to the teams’ arena i.e. Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium, and FedEx Field. On top of this, these places would only be allowed to collect bets on game day when they have 10,000 ticketed people in their parks.
The Senate wants to drastically expand what the sportsbooks can do in these places. It wants to allow year-round operation. This means that you could bet from the stadium or a sportsbook set up near the stadium year-round.
The other major change is to the tax structure in the state. HB 390 calls for a 15% tax on sports betting. It also calls for a raise to a 17.5% tax on mobile sports betting once the revenue hits $5 million. However, the Senate wants a normal 15% tax for Class A licenses and mobile sports betting licenses. Then it wants to lower the tax rate to 13% for Class B licenses.
Note that Class A licenses are retail sportsbooks at casinos, horse tracks, and stadiums. Meanwhile, Class B licenses are for local businesses such as bars and entertainment centers. This would give the small business a leg-up as their taxes would be lowered, and it also treats big retail sportsbooks the same as mobile sportsbooks.
When Can Maryland Sports Betting Launch?
Maryland sports betting is very likely to be the next state to launch sports betting. If everything falls into place soon, it could be feasible for the first licenses and sportsbooks to launch around the time of the 2021 NFL season. By the end of 2021 and the start of 2022, we should be seeing Maryland sports betting fully operational, barring any major legislative issues over the next month. The future is bright for bettors in the state.