Before the new year came, Republican Senator Chris West prefiled a Maryland sports betting bill. The bill will make sports wagering legal in the state. West filed SB 58 on New Year’s Eve for the upcoming 2020 legislative session.
If approved, the bill will allow racetracks and casinos to have sportsbooks. If Legislature passed the bill, voters would decide on the issue of amending the state constitution to legalize sports betting in Maryland. According to the state constitution, amendments made to commercial gambling laws need to pass through a referendum.
In 2019, lawmakers tried to pass a similar bill that will bypass the amendment process. They placed sports betting under the pretext of a state lottery. However, it didn’t make it to a vote. There’s little detail known about Senator West’s bill. One thing that’s known is that it allows 11 sports betting licenses for the entire state.
Maryland Sports Betting Bill
Bookie software insiders learned that you need to have an existing video lottery operation license or a license for harness or thoroughbred racing to qualify for a sports betting license. At present, there are five pari-mutuel racetracks and six casinos in the state.
Taxes from sports betting revenues will go to a public education fund, according to bookie pay per head sources. According to analysts, the state will earn around $40 to $60 million in annual tax revenues.
Political forum users expect Maryland sportsbooks to earn $200 to $300 million in a year. However, the bill doesn’t include online and mobile betting. As a result, experts expect the revenue to be lower than the initial estimates.
Rhode Island was far off from its tax revenue projections from sports betting during its launch. However, it managed to earn more revenue when it approved mobile and online betting in the state. Eighty percent of its sports wager handles in New Jersey came from online sources.