Sports betting was all over the news in 2019, and things have already started off fast in 2020. This time, the news comes out of the state of Maryland, where at least one Senator is hoping to legalize and launch sports betting at some point in 2020.
The Eastern portion of the United States saw several states flourish in the sports betting industry in 2019, and it could be Maryland’s turn to join the party this year. Maryland certainly has some terrific sports franchises that could get sports betting off and running, but there are still plenty of hoops that will need to be jumped through.
Maryland state Senator Chris West is the man that has proposed sports betting in what is called Senate Bill 58. His plan would allow casinos and horse tracks in the state to offer sports betting, although there would be an application process that all locations would need to go through.
Senator West believes that there is plenty of support to legalize sports betting, and he seems pretty optimistic that it will pass through legislature pretty quickly.
Senate Bill 58 was introduced as just a two-page bill, and there wasn’t a ton of details provided by West. There will obviously be some changes and additions made to this bill as it makes its way through the legislature, but the initial bill does give some details that could show the sports betting industry will operate if legalized.
Senator West estimated that the state would generate between $40 and $60 million in tax revenue from sports betting. That number is not a guarantee, but it is a good starting point to give other legislators in the state something to think about.
Senate Bill 58 proposed for 11 sports betting licenses to be issued. Casinos would take up six of those licenses, and the remaining five licenses would be handed out to the horse tracks throughout the state.
There wasn’t a price tag set on the amount that these locations would need to pay to both apply and maintain these licenses.
One thing that West left out of his proposed bill was mobile or online sports betting. Mobile sports betting has brought in the most revenue in states with legalized sports betting, but it is unclear why it was left out of this initial proposal.
Not legalizing mobile sports betting would likely lower the amount of money that the state is able to bring in by a significant amount.
If Senate Bill 58 does pass through both the Senate and House, then it would be up to the voters to decide whether to make it legal. A new sports betting law would require an amendment to the state constitution, which could make things harder to get done.
The voting would take place in November, and it is way too early to anticipate how the voters would vote. Maryland did legalize casino gambling with a constitutional amendment, which could be a sign. This will be an interesting story to keep an eye on as the year moves along.