Voters in the state of Maryland approved sports betting last November, but the industry has still not launched since then. This is because lawmakers in the state can’t agree on how the industry should be set up and operate.
There has been some recent progress on that front, and a final decision could come as early as the end of April. The House of Representatives in Maryland was able to pass House Bill 940 (HB940) through. A Senate Committee is now hearing testimony on it.
HB940 will likely become a law, but there are still plenty of steps that need to be taken.
HB940 would create two different retail sports betting licenses, and online betting would also be available. The retail licenses would either be classified as a Class A or a Class B license. The biggest argument has been on how many licenses should be available, and which groups will be allowed to apply for a license.
Currently, HB940 calls for 12 Class A licenses to be available, with the six casinos in the state getting the first crack at them. This number has been argued in the Senate, and could be where an amendment is made.
Class B licenses will be up for grabs, and there are currently 10 of these available. A committee would be set up to receive and review these license applications before a final decision is made.
Representatives from some of the top casinos in the state of Maryland also testified in front of the Senate Committee. These casinos believe that they should be able to obtain both a retail and online sports betting license.
Lawmakers in the state are hoping to give out online licenses to outside companies looking to offer online-only betting. This is another issue that will need to be settled before a bill is finally approved in the Senate.
Baltimore Teams Want in On Action
Granting the Washington Football Team a sports betting license has been a priority for Maryland lawmakers, as they want that team to build a new stadium in the state. Other professional teams are expected to receive licenses as well, but the two most popular teams in Baltimore–the Orioles and the Ravens– have been left out of discussions.
Earlier this week, representatives from both the Orioles and Ravens spoke to members of the Senate urging to grant them a license. It was expected that the Senate would take them into account before passing any bill, but there has been no clear indicator of such consideration.
The Baltimore Ravens are more popular than the Washington Football Team in the state of Maryland, and lately have been much more successful. The Baltimore Orioles are one of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball and will help drive sports betting.
Lawmakers can’t afford to leave these two teams out. You will see them being a centerpiece of the discussion moving forward.