The November 3 referendum result saw Maryland become the latest US state to legalize sports betting. The vote passed despite a number of gray areas regarding what kinds of sports you would legally be able to bet on in Maryland. However, the state’s legislature will finally get together on January 13, 2021 to set down the laws on sports betting.
Much of the debate will fall on which operators will be granted a sports betting license. The licenses are being granted as the state seeks to earn funds for the hard-hit education system. At the moment, many of Maryland’s casinos have demanded that they be among the first to be given a sports betting license. This is because the state’s casinos already have a proven track-record for providing revenues that have funded everything from education to the horse racing industry.
So far, a number of big players have been circling around the fledgling Maryland sports betting industry. Famous bookmakers such as William Hill, BetMGM and FanDuel already have deep-set connections with Maryland-based casino brands. Plus DraftKings even took the initiative to attend some of the legislative hearings that took place earlier in the year.
Other thorny issues to overcome include the fact that the previous bill for sports betting was halted in the House of Delegates. This is because it was found to not include enough support for minority and female interest groups.
Plus there are still questions about what kinds of sports could legally be bet on in Maryland. Many other states have maintained a ban on college sports betting, and it is thought that Maryland could do the same.
Maryland Plays Catch-Up With Legal Sports Betting
The victory for legalized sports betting at the polling booths was emphatic. It was revealed that the bill passed the ballot by a two-to-one margin. Such a result was not hugely surprising as Maryland has an energetic sporting community.
Big name sports franchises like Baltimore Ravens in the NFL and Baltimore Orioles in the MLB are just the tip of the iceberg, From the world-famous Preakness Stakes horse race to the never-ending talent that emerges from the University of Maryland campus, it seems that legal sports betting in the state is long overdue.
This is especially true as many of Maryland’s neighboring states have already started enjoying fully legalized sports betting. Sports fans in states like Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington DC and West Virginia can already legally bet on anything from football to basketball, and Maryland is set to be the 19th US state to legalize sports betting.
The state already has a well-embedded physical casino industry with famous casinos like the Horseshoe Baltimore, the MGM National Harbor and Live! Casino and Hotel. All of these casinos are expected to be leading the pack to obtain sports betting licenses. But whether Maryland will join the likes of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in permitting legal online casino gaming remains to be seen.