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Legal Sports Betting In Maryland

Hasan Nabulsi
Maryland Sports Betting

Updated on November 7, 2020

Legal sports betting In Maryland has cleared its last obstacle thanks to one group in particular: The people of Maryland.

On March 18, 2020, MD Senate Bill 4 was passed through both of the state’s legislative chambers and put the issue of Maryland sports betting legalization up to voters to decide on when they looked at their November ballots.

While the bill passed by a wide margin in both chambers this year and was passed overwhelmingly by the state’s voters, getting this far has been a 3-year process.

Given how many major sports franchises call Maryland home and how Maryland is losing potential sports betting dollars to neighboring states, it makes sense why so many people wanted to make sports betting legal. 

Maryland Sports Betting Timeline

2018

Legal sports betting in Maryland was actually up for debate even before PASPA was overruled by the US supreme court. MD HB 1014 was introduced in February 2018 and sought to put the issue of sports betting on the 2018 ballot. 

That bill passed through the State House but ultimately died in a Senate Committee. The Senate had another bill, MD SB 0836, which would’ve done the same thing but that bill didn’t even make it out of a single committee before time ran out that session. 

Because PASPA had not been repealed during the time of that year’s session, it made it more difficult for lawmakers to pass a sports betting bill. 

2019

More sports betting bills were introduced in 2019. The most prevalent bill that year was MD HB 1132.

This bill would have worked around the constitutional need for a voter referendum for gambling expansion in the state by simply awarding the state lottery the right to offer sports betting.

However, backlash from the state’s casino and horse racing industry, combined with a legal opinion from Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, ultimately killed any progress it tried to make.

2020

The field was now clear for the state to pass a Maryland sports betting bill. 

They had the federal clearance to do so and they were in a year where the issue could be put on the ballot just a few months after passing.

They did that… but still left questions unanswered for voters.

In March 2020, the Senate Unanimously MD SB 4. The bill came with clear rules for how the industry would work and who would operate it. 

MD SB 4 originally called for the state’s six casinos, three racetracks, and one professional sports stadium to apply for a sports betting license. Those locations could then partner with a single online sports betting provider to offer mobile sports betting all across the state. 

These locations would have to pay $1.5 million to $2.5 million upfront in licensing fees as well as pay a 20% tax rate on any revenue they generate from offering sports betting in Maryland. Of that tax rate, 1% was to go to the Minority Business Enterprise Program

But, once the bill reached the House, legislators saw this bill as excluding women and minorities from having any sort of stake in the MD sports gambling industry.

Women and Minorities do not own any businesses that could apply for licenses, and because the session got cut short due to COVID-19 concerns, the legislature could not fully debate this issue. 

The House then gutted the bill down to being just a simple voter referendum and the governor signed off on it.

On November 3, 2020, voters in the state of Maryland passed Question 2 on their ballot by a margin of over 60%. The passage solidified legal sports betting in Maryland.

2021

Now that sports betting has been approved by voters, the 2021 legislature will have to fine-tune the exact rules and regulations for MD sports betting operators with another bill. 

That bill will then have to be signed by the Governor and would have to wait until July 1, 2021, to go into effect. 

This means the soonest sports bettors in Maryland could bet on sports would be fall of 2021 during football season. 

Where Can You Bet On Sports In Maryland?

There is currently no place to bet on sports in Maryland. Gambling venues such as race tracks and casinos were the prime target of legislation going into 2020 but that could be changed in 2021.

Maryland sports bettors looking for legal sports betting opportunities won’t have to travel too far outside the state to do so.

Mobile sports betting apps are available statewide in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. There is even one that is available in Washington D.C. Land-based venues are even available in Delaware

All of these betting sites are just a short drive away no matter where you are in the state.

Maryland Sports Betting Apps

The sports gambling bill that passed through the state legislature in 2020 was going to give land-based casinos the ability to partner with an online sports betting provider.

Maryland sports betting apps would’ve been legal to use no matter where you were inside the state. 

While those provisions were taken out of the bill in 2020, there is still a shot that statewide sports betting apps could be back on the table in the 2021 legislative session.

Maryland Sports Betting FAQs

Can I bet on The Maryland Terrapins in Maryland?

Betting on the Maryland Terrapins is something that the state legislature in 2021 will have to consider since was not included on the ballot. Betting odds for the Maryland Terrapins are available at sports betting apps offered in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. 

Who will regulate sports setting In Maryland?

Based on how previous bills have been written, it looks as though the Maryland Lottery will be the regulatory agency overseeing sports betting in the Free State.

How Much Will Maryland Sports Betting Be Taxed?

The November ballot did not specify. This is another part of the potential Maryland sports betting industry that will need to be figured out by state lawmakers in the 2021 legislative session.