Peek At Key Details Of Latest Maryland Sports Betting Proposal

Maryland lawmakers on Saturday came to an agreement that paves the way for the framework for legal sports betting to be approved on Monday, the final day the General Assembly is in session, according to Maryland Matters.

The deal, brokered between the Senate and the House, would reinstitute a cap of 10 mobile licenses, all tethered to existing gaming facilities, in addition to allowing for 30 retail-only licenses for sports bars, restaurants, and other businesses interested in offering in-person sports betting. It’s unclear if mobile-only licenses are part of the new deal.

The deal comes just days after the Senate approved a bill that would have allowed for an unlimited amount of sports wagering licenses, including standalone mobile platforms. But Senate sports betting champion Craig Zucker told Maryland Matters Saturday that he is happy with the compromise.

“We’re in a good place,” Zucker said. “Having worked together [with the House], we’ll have a good sports betting bill that will keep us competitive with other states while [we] still have meaningful small-, minority- and women-owned participation.”

Bet at the ballpark or a casino

The latest proposed version of HB 940 would allow for the state’s existing casinos, three professional sports venues (Oriole Park, FedEx Field, and M&T Bank Stadium), and several other businesses to offer retail and mobile wagering under Class A licenses. These licenses come with application price tags of up to $2 million, depending on certain qualifications. The bill also allows for 30 Class B licenses for retail wagering only.

The bill must pass both the House and Senate on Monday before it can be sent to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for signature. From there, the bill would become effective on June 1, and the Maryland Lottery would begin developing rules with an eye toward launching at least some operators in the fall.

Marylanders legalized sports wagering via referendum in November 2020.

Strong minority participation guidelines

Once Hogan signs off on the bill, Maryland would become the last of the jurisdictions in its region to legalize, following Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. All of those have live, legal digital sports wagering with the exception of Delaware, which has in-person wagering only. Delaware was the first state in the nation to launch operators after the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018. Virginia, which launched operators in January, is among the most recent to do so.

Since HB 940 was introduced in February, Maryland lawmakers have been debating how to handle minority participation with regards to legal sports betting. The current requirements allow smaller minority and women-owned businesses to benefit from a fund created through state revenue from bigger operators. Monies from this fund may be used to pay for application fees or operational costs, or to train workers. Maryland’s sports betting law would provide one of the most inclusive minority participation programs in the U.S.

Sports betting would be taxed at a rate of 15% for mobile/online platforms and 13% for retail operations, and all funds would go toward education costs or problem gambling initiatives.