Maryland will soon be surrounded by legal online sports betting

As online sportsbooks Fanduel and Draftkings set up shop in West Virginia, Maryland faces the prospect of soon being surrounded by states that have legalized sports betting.

Online gambling was legalized in 2018 at the national level which left each state with the right to decide if, and how, they would allow online gambling within their borders. So far, some states have legalized online gambling, some have opted to allow a restricted form of online betting whereas others have simply not begun the process.

The current situation has left a patchwork effect across the country, with clusters of states, eager not to lose out on potential tax revenues to their neighbors, that have legalized online gambling. Maryland finds itself in one of these clusters, sandwiched in between some of the country’s frontrunners. Delaware was officially the first state to legalize sports betting whilst New Jersey and Pennsylvania have emerged as the two states with the largest online sportsbook presence in the country. West Virginia became the fifth state to legalize online gambling and recently welcomed two sportsbook heavyweights; Fanduel and Draftkings. This only leaves Virginia and Washington State left before Maryland is entirely enveloped. The former is expected to vote on a bill in 2019 that would legalize online betting in the state.

The added revenue that sports betting can bring to a state is a considerable incentive for local governments around the country. Some states such as Pennsylvania have set a particularly high 36% tax rate on sportsbook operators. Residents of Colorado, recently voted 51% in favor of legalizing sports betting in the state after it was promised that a portion of the tax would go toward water sanitation. Oregon recently legalized online sports betting but has only allowed the state lottery to obtain a license.

Baltimore’s proximity to the state means that residents often make the short trip over the border to Pennsylvania to place their bets. The active sportsbooks in Pennsylvania can read your IP address, so as long you are within state borders you are able to sign-up and bet online. Pennsylvania does not, unlike Nevada, have a requirement that you must sign-up and deposit in person.

Thomas V. Mike Miller JR, Maryland’s Senate President recently announced that a bill that would legalize sports betting will not be allowed until 2020. Legalizing online sports betting in Maryland could attract a high level of sports bets on the Washington Redskins, who play in Landover. With two NFL teams – The Washington Redskins and The Baltimore Ravens – officially within state borders, sportsbooks focused on the NFL, would look to capitalize on Washington’s state’s reluctance to allow online gambling. With the MLB team, the Baltimore Orioles playing in the MLB, Maryland may prove an attractive state for sportsbooks, despite a population of around six million people. As it stands, sportsbooks would need to launch a state-specific mobile wagering app if a bill was passed to legalize online gambling in the state.

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