Maryland to Begin Introducing Sports Betting Bills

The 2020 November election brought change to the state as Maryland voters said “yes” to sports betting. After many questions surrounding whether or not the state would approve sports betting during the election, Maryland passed it by a two to one vote.

Shortly after, the state began producing sports betting bills to introduce to the state in hopes of getting something passed and launched in 2021. On Tuesday, House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones introduced House Bill 940 and is the first of many sports betting bills introduced in Maryland.

The state is expected to hear multiple bills and decide which route is best for Maryland sports betting.

Details of HB 940

Maryland casino and horse racing tracks would be allowed to apply for betting licenses under HB 940, and the state would also allow mobile sports betting for online-operators only. Retail sportsbooks would pay a $250,000 licensing fee, and online operators would pay $500,000.

The state would also allow up to 10 licenses for online betting operators. Sports Wagering Application Review Commission would handout sports betting licenses. The SWARC was newly created this year for Maryland sports betting. Renewal fees would take place every five years and cost between $10,000 and $100,000.

Both retail and online sports betting operators would start at a 15% tax. However, online-only sportsbooks would pay a 17.5% tax after the first $5 million in revenue.

Which Sportsbooks Could Enter?

Maryland could be a pretty competitive sports betting industry, depending on how a bill is written. Maryland expects to have at least 10 only operators along with retail sportsbooks at the six casinos in the state. The state also plans to offer licenses to the two racetracks and put an estimated 18 sportsbooks in Maryland.

The casinos are most likely going to be picked over with sportsbooks, thanks to partnerships already formed. MGM Harbor National will feature BetMGM, and Horshoe Casino Maryland will most likely have Caesars Sportsbook. Hollywood Casino Perryville was recently reacquired by Penn National, which has a stake in Barstool Sportsbook. Live! Casino & Hotel will see FanDuel, Ocean Downs will most likely have Twin Spires as its sports betting operator, and Rocky Gap Casino Resort could see William Hill.

That leaves 12 other spots open for betting operators. DraftKings will inevitably enter Maryland along with BetRivers, PointsBet, and other top brands. With big names already tied to casinos, many sportsbooks open the doors to enter the state and should get it shot in Maryland.

What’s Next for the State?

Most likely, more bills will be filed into the state, and Maryland lawmakers will decide whether or not which bill will officially move forward. HB 940 gives Maryland bettors a good idea of where the state is heading in terms of licenses, taxes, and overall structure.

The early bills filed in Maryland give the state a promising outlook on sports betting and make it a competitive state. Also, Maryland could have Washington D.C. bettors trickle into the state if the District cannot fix sports betting.

Bettors would be more interested in betting in a more reliable state, which could help boost revenue in Maryland. Overall, expect discussions in the coming months for what Maryland sports betting will ultimately look like.

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