A sports betting bill in Maryland has taken the next step and it’s a much-improved bill compared to previous iterations. Before the House of Representatives agreed to pass the bill on to the Senate, more sports betting licenses were included in the legislation.
Sports betting companies and other Maryland companies have lobbied for more sports betting licenses to be available, and the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee did just that. Initially, 23 sports betting licenses were to be available according to HB 940, but that number is now up to 37.
The Maryland House also outlined the businesses or companies that would be eligible to apply for a sports betting license, and many of these might already be included in the verbiage. There would be 12 Class A licenses available, and 10 Class B licenses are also included.
The Class A licenses will include professional sports stadiums within the state of Maryland. Class B licenses will be made available to local businesses, and there will be a bidding process to determine the recipients.
On top of those 22 in-person licenses, there will be 15 online-only sports betting licenses available as well. Popular sites such as DraftKings and William Hill will likely be among the first to receive that form of license.
The House Ways and Means Committee also noted that it would be okay with adding additional licenses, but the Senate will have a say in those numbers, too. Professional sports teams that receive Class A sports betting licenses will be limited to offering betting during their normal season.
Some minor financial changes were made to the bill as well, but they are not significant enough that the Senate is expected to vote against the bill.
Sports Betting By NFL Season?
After a few weeks of some mild optimism, there is now a strong belief that sports betting could become legal as early as June in Maryland. Sportsbooks throughout the United States hope that is the case, but there is still some more work that needs to be done.
The bill will now go to committee in the Senate, and it will likely get picked apart before being passed on to the entire Senate. The Maryland Senate has already announced that it plans to make some minor changes to the bill, but there does appear to be enough support for passage.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is a supporter of sports betting, especially after it became clear that residents in the state are in favor of sports betting. Hogan will sign whatever form of the bill lands on his desk, and June 1 is a target date.
Technically, sports betting in Maryland would become legal at that time the bill is signed, but sportsbooks would still have to meet regulatory approval. There is a chance that live sports betting could be available in Maryland by the start of the 2021 NFL season, but a lot of things will have to go right for that to take place.