Online Gambling in Maryland - Will It Be Legal? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Online Gambling in Maryland – Will It Be Legal?

No one can deny the rapid growth of online gambling. Especially, if you look at the numbers. The market size of the sector is expected to grow by almost $115 billion during 2020-2024, according to new research by Technavio. Online casinos and sportsbooks are becoming more streamlined as technology advances, and the industry is set to become one of the biggest revenue creators out there.

Though online gambling has been around since 1994, it wasn’t until the smartphone was introduced that the sphere exploded. Affordability, practicality, and variety are winning customers over, as more and more people are doing their gambling online.

To keep up with trends, and our ever-changing way of life, governments around the globe are trying to keep pace and are legalizing the activity. The US is no exception. In May of 2018, after a New Jersey Supreme Court decision, the federal ban on sports betting in America was lifted. And, while operating online casinos might still not be legal on US soil, no law’s stopping US players to gamble on off-shore platforms.

So, where does Maryland stand in 2020, when it comes to online gambling?

Gambling Laws in Maryland 2020

There’s no question that Maryland is behind most states when it comes to gambling legislation. Maryland casinos were not approved until 2008, even though horse racing dates back to the 19th century in the state. It’s also trailing neighboring states, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware when it comes to sports betting.

Is online gambling legal in Maryland? The short answer, it will be.

In early 2018, the Maryland Legislature was proactive and introduced Bill No.989. This bill called for the formation of a task force whose purpose was to “study the implementation of sports gaming in the state”, with hopes that the activity would become legal in 2020. Online casinos might have to wait a while.

With things lagging, in March of 2020, the General Assembly approved a sports betting bill, with a vote of 47-0. If approved, the legislature will have to figure out many aspects like regulation, licensing, tax rates, and how the activity is to be implemented.

The bill allows for bets to be placed on both professional and collegiate sports. Esports betting is also permitted if the competition is sanctioned by a governing entity. However, nothing is mentioned about the state of online casino gambling, and the ability to play casino games for real money online.

Under Maryland law, a voter referendum is required. If all goes as planned, the first sports bet could be legally made in Maryland in 2021.

Pros and Cons of Legalization

The main temptation for the state lays in potential tax revenues. From June of 2018 to September of 2019, New Jersey received tax revenues of $36 million from sports betting alone. Pennsylvania’s number is smaller at – $19.76 million, while Delaware managed to pull in $9.5 million. If we add the potential employment opportunities, it’s easy to see why so many states immediately jumped on the opportunity to make the activity legal.

However, gambling addiction is always an issue. Maryland too is worried about the negative effect on people’s mental health and their financial well-being. The state has expressed its concern by passing a bill that integrates lessons about the risks associated with gambling in high school curriculums.

The program is going to be implemented starting from the 2021-2022 school year. With Boards of Education remaining in opposition, claiming that educators have too much to teach as it is.

Online Gambling in Maryland Latest Policy Updates

While many may think that it’s time for Maryland to get with the times and keep up with trends set by other states, the voter’s referendum seems to be far from a sure thing.

A poll conducted in February of 2020, by Goucher College in Baltimore, showed that 47% of surveyed Maryland residents supported the addition of sports betting as a legalized form of gambling. While 43% opposed it. On top of this, 45% of residents were for the expansion of current gambling laws to allow betting on sports to be permitted at casinos, stadiums and race tracks in the state. But, 49% were against it.

Thus, the future of online gambling in the state of Maryland remains uncertain. To be decided on at a later date. Many are hopeful that voters will decide on new jobs and an influx of new tax revenues for the state.

About the author

Alonzo Solano

Alonzo Solano is a sports analyst who has covered a few Super Bowls and a couple of World Cups for different media outlets. He analyzes NCAA College Football and NFL games for SafestBettingSites, but don’t be surprised if you read him on any other sport. He’s a gaming analyst looking for winners every weekend. He’s the new guy in town “trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents Contact the author.

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