Maryland Sports Betting Bill Moves One Step Closer to Passage

Sportsbook Board Image Cut Into Closeup Image of Man Working on Laptop

Maryland’s Senate passed an amended version of the House’s Maryland sports betting bill via voice vote on Thursday morning, moving the state’s sports betting bill industry one step closer to becoming a reality.

While the senate already passed the bill, they will still have to take it to a roll call vote to have the numbers on record before sending it back to the House for a concurrence vote due to the amendments made by the Senate.

Amended HB 940

House Bill 940 was originally passed in the House on March 11. That draft provided for a total of 37 licenses within three areas of the market. However, the Senate chose to amend the bill and include no cap on mobile sportsbooks or Class B licensing, which includes any number of retail locations. The amendment also called for the prioritization of giving licenses to women and minority businesses.

The Senate also set the tax rate for Class A operators to 15% of gross gaming revenue as compared to the tiered proposal by the House. As for Class B Maryland sports betting operators, the tax rate is 13%. Application fees for licenses were priced at $2M with a renewal cost of $500,000 for Class A licenses and $1M in application fee plus $300,000 in renewal for Class B licenses.

What’s Next for HB 940?

The Maryland sports betting bill now moves to a third reading, likely on Friday, and then it will be sent back to the House for for a vote on the latest draft on the measure. Time is of the essence for HB940 as the General Assembly ends their 2021 session on Monday. If the bill is passed, Maryland sports betting could go live before the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Maryland sports betting stands to become the largest and most competitive sports betting regulated sports betting industry in the United States with no limit as to the number of legal Maryland sports betting operators. Maryland is known as the Free State and if this Maryland sports betting bill is approved, the state will live up to its nickname

Maryland Sports Betting Bill Heads to Senate After Securing House Approval

 

Odds Board and Money

The Maryland House of Representatives voted 130-9 in favor of House Bill 940 which would legalize sports betting in the state.

The version of the bill approved on Thursday was much more expanded from what was initially filed The original version called for 10-stand alone digital licenses and allowed retail and mobile sportsbooks at or tethered to the state’s existing casinos. But after discussions with stakeholders, the House Ways and Means Committee amended it to be more inclusive.

Online and In Person Betting

HB 940 would allow online betting at Maryland’s six casinos and the three stadiums where the state’s three major professional teams play, as well as horse racing tracks. The bill also permits 22 locations where people could place bets in person.

The Maryland sports betting bill also requires operators to remit 15% of their revenues as taxes. Applications would cost $250,000 for Class A Licenses, and $500,000 for stand-alone mobile platforms. Renewal fees are valid for five years and are worth $500,000 and $100,000, respectively. Meanwhile, brick and mortar casinos are allowed one skin or mobile partner.

Inclusion of Pro Venues

The locations which are allowed to operate a physical sportsbook include the state’s six existing casinos, the Washington Football Team’s FedEx Field, the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Stadium, the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards, the Maryland State Fairgrounds, Pimlico and Laurel Park horse racetracks, and one off-track betting parlor.

However, the approved version of the Maryland sports betting has a unique provision for the sports venues. Unlike in other states, Maryland sports betting allows venues to take sports bets in ticketed areas and those areas are open only during events, games, or when races are held. The said venues could also offer wagering when other events are held at the facility but there is a required number of people present for it to be considered as “game days”- 2,000 for race tracks and 10,000 for sports venues.

Maryland Expected to Launch Later This Year

The Maryland lawmakers are in session until April 12. If Senate does approve the bill, it will be sent to Gov. Larry Hogan for his signature. The bill would take effect on June 1st but there appears to be no timeline set for regulators to promulgate regulations or get operators.

Generally, it would take a state between six months to one year to approve regulations and launch sports betting operators. Neighboring Virginia legalized sports betting in April 2020. The first sports bet taken in the Volunteer State was on January 21, 2021. On the other hand, Colorado legalized sports wagering in November 2019 and operators began accepting bets in May 2020. Maryland already has a gaming structure so experts believe that sports betting can launch there later this year.