Could Maryland Be Next to Offer Online Casino Gambling?

Maryland and US flags

A senator has filed a bill on online casinos in Maryland, a state that is expected to adopt the vertical in 2024. [Image:]

Senator presents bill

A legal online casino market could be on the horizon for Maryland after Senator Ron Watson introduced SB 603 after SB 267 failed to advance in 2023.

Watson filed the bill Friday along with a supporting bill that would allow a referendum in Maryland’s November general election.

allow each casino to work with two operators

The updated language in SB 603 would allow six state casinos and video lottery terminal operators to offer online casino games. The bill would allow any casino to partner with two operators such as FanDuel or BetMGM, both of which already offer retail and mobile sports betting in Maryland.

Watson’s bill would require operators to cough up $1 million for a five-year license fee and pay taxes at 47% of gross sales.

boost for the state

The operator taxes would significantly boost state coffers, with 1% going to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) and another 1% going to the state’s Problem Gambling Fund. The remaining 45% would go toward education funding through the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund.

If the Maryland legislature passes SB 603, lawmakers would also have to pass SB 565. This companion bill would put the online casino question before voters and place it on the ballot:

“Do you support the expansion of commercial gambling in the State of Maryland to authorize Internet gambling for the primary purpose of generating revenue for education?”

MLGA commissioned a study on the economic impact of online casinos

One problem facing Watson’s bill, and a hot topic among lawmakers, is cannibalization fears. Fearing a negative impact on the net revenues of casinos and VLT operators in Maryland, the MLGA commissioned a study on the economic impact of online casinos.

However, the Innovation Group recently presented the results of its study to the House Ways and Means Committee and found that “the potential cannibalization effect of online gambling was minimal.”

SB 603’s language also covers live dealer studios, which would create more job opportunities for Marylanders.

Possible candidates

Gaming industry insiders believe Maryland, New York, Illinois and Louisiana are the states most likely to approve online casino gaming in 2024.

Indiana, one of the states trying to legalize the vertical, saw its online casino law collapse in November due to a bribery scandal involving former state lawmaker Sean Eberhart. Eberhart has agreed to confess to federal charges of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.

Currently, only Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have legalized online casino gaming.

According to the Maryland General Assembly website: The Senate will hear Watson’s bill on February 28.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *