Key legislative leaders want to expedite MD sports betting without having voters approve it.
Maryland wants to catch up to their neighbors when it comes to legalized sports betting, and they’re looking for ways to fast track MD sports betting without having to wait until 2020 for the voters to approve it.
Key legislators in the Maryland General Assembly, as well as lobbyists for casinos and racetracks for possible MD sportsbooks being run at MGM National Harbor, Horseshoe Casino, and Live Casino & Hotel, are looking over a plan that would put MD sports betting regulation directly under Maryland’s Lottery and Gaming Control Agency’s umbrella.
How Would This MD Sports Betting Bill Get Approved Without A Referendum?
The main question in Maryland is, how could the state pass a bill to legalize sports betting in Maryland without having to wait until the 2020 election to pass it?
This is what legislators are trying to figure out during the 2019 legislative season. In 2007, voters approved a referendum that states that any expansion in gambling, including sports betting in Maryland, must go on the ballot first.
However, the caveat to that is any changes to games falling under the lottery umbrella is completely exempt from this voter ballot requirement. That is what Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller had on his mind when he stated, “If we can find a way to do it without referendum, I’m certainly amenable to move forward this year”.
Casino Revenue Continues To Grow, Making Sports Betting In Maryland A Bigger Priority
Maryland legislators want to capitalize on the growing casino industry in the state, as they saw the revenue jump up 8.2 percent to close to $1.75 billion. An MD sports betting bill proposed by Delegates Jason Buckel and Kevin Hornberger in February contained a measure that would allow the state lottery to collect 80 percent of the sports betting revenue in the state, with the other 20 going back to the licensees.
What should really make this a priority for the state is watching neighboring states reap the benefits of increased sports betting and the tax revenue it brings in. New Jersey sports betting has seen record numbers month after month, as well as sports betting in Delaware, Pennsylvania sports betting and sports betting in Rhode Island.
It seems like a long road ahead for legalized sports betting in Maryland, but at least legislators are fighting to shorten that path ahead.