DFS Moves Forward While Sports Betting Fails in Maryland


MarylandEfforts to see sports betting and daily fantasy sports legislation passed in Maryland result in one moving forward while one falls behind.

Maryland is one of many states in the US currently considering changes within their gambling industry. The state just recently reviewed legislation involving sports betting and daily fantasy sports, with DFS moving forward while sports betting failed to advance. The DFS bill has been sent to the governor for consideration.

Sports Betting Off the Table

In March, a bill involving sports betting was able to pass within the state House with a big vote of 124 to 14. However, H 1014 was able to see any action in the Senate and will end without any chance of the state legalizing the option in the near future. This doesn’t mean that the option will not be considered next time around, but legislature does not meet again until January 2019, so no more consideration will be given this year.

Maryland’s sports betting progress is a sharp contrast to that of other states, as several are working on sports betting bills. Many states want to be ahead of the game if the United States Supreme Court rule in favor of New Jersey in the Christie vs. NCAA case. If they rule for NJ, then sports betting would be open across the nation. With legislation in place, states are ready to begin offering wagering options to players with no waiting.

Such states that have already passed legislation involving sports betting include New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and more. Because these neighboring states have legislation in place, they can begin offering real money sports wagering quickly if SCOTUS provides a positive outcome in the case. Maryland will be far behind and unable to establish a foothold in the sports betting industry and will have to watch as their neighbors succeed.

Fantasy Sports Moves Forward

While sports betting was unable to gain any ground, daily fantasy sports soldiers on. Bill S 900 is one that moves the regulation of DFS to the state lottery and gaming commission instead of within the comptroller’s office. Regulations were provided last year based on changes from 2012. It is not new that DFS is allowed in the state, but these changes further cement the ability for operators to offer their services in Maryland.

The legislation also has wording involving Eaglestrike, a company operating in the state. The bill has banned any type of fantasy sports kiosks in the state. The Eaglestrike company seems to be the only one that would be affected by this change. The company operates DFS kiosks in several states aside from Maryland.

Moving Forward

The gambling industry of Maryland is booming, particularly after the launch of MGM National Harbor back in late 2016. The state continues to earn record revenues, pushing past the $100m mark month after month. National Harbor continues to be the top performer and has helped the industry earn far more than ever thought possible.

With daily fantasy sports, the state will continue to receive even more from their gaming industry, but the loss of sports betting will be a blow, if SCOTUS allows the activity across the board. Hundreds of millions are lost each year to illegal bookmakers and if legalized, states stand to make a huge profit. Maryland could also benefit from online casino and poker gaming, but it doesn’t seem that lawmakers are interested in that option either.

For now, gamers will have to settle on the land-based gaming and daily fantasy sports and stay hopeful that lawmakers will eventually be open to new options like sports betting and iGaming.