Maryland Readies to Tackle Sports Betting Regulation

Even though initial reports hinted at a very late launch for sports betting in Maryland (not before 2020, allegedly), certain officials are looking to by-pass the required public vote and speed up the process.

Republican Delegates Jason Buckel and Kevin Hornberger, are filing a proposal in Maryland’s General Assembly that looks to regulate sports wagering without ratification via referendum!

The laws in this Eastern state are such that…

…every planned gambling expansion must be put to public referendum before state regulators, State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, take matters into their own hands.

Putting the 1972 Referendum to the Test

Buckel’s and Hornberger’s initiative stems from a previous suggestion that sports betting may be launched earlier than expected thanks to the outcome of a referendum that led to the inception of Gaming Control Agency…

…which dates back to 1972!

Uncommon a practice it might be -however, the two politicians’ House Bill 1132 goes to show how keen they are to avoid the scenario according to which the state will have to wait until the next federal elections – scheduled for 2020 – in order for voters to have their say on the matter.

If passed, HB 1132 will grant aforementioned regulators the sole responsibility of finding third party partners for sports betting services.

Funding Education and Problem Gambling

For the time being, only operators who already hold video lottery and horse racing licenses would be able to apply for sports wagering licenses – which, by the way…

…would last only one year and could be obtained for a $300,000 initial fee (annual renewal fee would be $50,000).

The fees collected from issuing and extending licenses would be used for funding several causes identified as priorities. First, 10% of fees’ revenue would be invested into the Problem Gambling Fund.

Another 10% would go to local impact grants…

…and the 80% that remains would be sent to the Maryland Education Trust Fund.

A Very Hopeful July

The bill itself contains no language on online or mobile sports wagering – though an eventual revised version could have a few amendments on it added. Also, the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission will be in charge of detailing the regulation, which includes this particular aspect.

The bill is currently with General Assembly Ways and Means Committee. If it manages to pass Maryland legislature, it may come into effect as early as July 1st.

Potential sports betting vertical has a lot to look forward to in the state that sees growing monthly figures.

A commendable 8% annual increase in gaming profit for Maryland’s six brick-and-mortar properties, for a total of $148 million raked in during December alone.

Whatever the outcome of the lightning-quick regulation initiative, here’s hoping that sports betting in this state won’t be as ill-fated as the unfortunate case of an MGM National Harbor punter who was denied her win due to a freakish gaffe by casino workers who got her social security number wrong.


“Maryland Delegates launch sports betting regulation bid”,, February 11, 2019.

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