Amid all of the controversy surrounding the presidential election, Maryland’s voters will have to wrestle with two important statewide questions on voting day. These concern amendments to the state’s constitution that would allow for changes in funds to the governor’s budgets, as well as whether sports betting would be legalised so as to allow for extra funds public education.

Already there has been a large amount of public debate about such issues. This is in conjunction with a wave of separate questions that will be put to residents in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Frederick County and Howard County. 

Question one would seek to amend Maryland’s constitution in a way that would give the general assembly the power to affect the governor’s budget. This could see either a rise, fall or a complete reallocation in what the governor is allowed to spend from 2024 onwards. 

If the question was passed, it would mark a startling turnaround for the state. This is because Maryland is one of the very few US states that currently fails to give its general assembly the power to set the governor’s budget funds. While those in the assembly can bid to reduce money from the budget, the power to increase or reallocate funds has yet to be included. 

By passing the question, it would give legislators a much greater ability to control the process by which state funds are used. However, critics of the proposal have stated that if it was passed, then it could be used by lawmakers merely as a way of funneling monies towards their own districts. 

If the first question wasn’t divisive enough, the second question regarding legalized sports betting is certain to cause even more controversy. The US has been experiencing a wave of deregulation regarding online gambling in the past few years. Many nearby states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania now experience legalized sports betting and casino gaming. As a result, it is easy for people in those states to do anything from claiming a casino bonus from a site featured at a resource like to enjoying betting on football in a safe and legal capacity.

People in Maryland already enjoy legal gambling at horse tracks and casinos within the site. But the extra measures would provide the chance to bet on sports in Maryland. This would be done in order to raise money for K-12 public education programs. It has been estimated that up to $20 million per year could be raised if legal sports betting came to force in the state. 

Many big names from the local sporting world have got behind the efforts to push this question through. Dan Snyder is well known as being the chief of the Washington Football Team and he extensively lobbied the Maryland legislators in favor of legalized sports betting. Key among such considerations were Snyder’s plans to build a new Washington Football Stadium in Prince George’s County. If the bill were to be passed then this stadium would also include a sports betting facility in its grounds. 

The question is being put to Maryland’s voters after the sports betting bill was passed in the Senate in March. If the new law came into being, prospective bookmakers would have to acquire a sports betting license. This would involve paying a one-off license fee that could be anywhere up to $2.5 million. So far there have been many interested parties that include existing casinos, and race tracks.

Early signs are that Maryland should enjoy legalized sports betting after the November vote. Alongside some significant industry support and approval from Governor Hogan, it has been estimated that two in one Maryland voters are in favour of the deregulation.

However the referendum on sports betting would be only the first step in a long path. There are still many questions that remain unanswered. Key amongst these is whether betting on college athletics would be permitted, and whether gambling apps will be allowed in Maryland. Interestingly both FanDuel and DraftKings have weighed their support behind the campaign with some high profile online advertising. 

Both the questions of legal sports betting and the governor’s budgeting are pivotal for how Maryland grows in the coming years. The state’s treatment of such topics has seen it at odds with many of its neighbors. In fact all of Maryland’s neighboring states have already pushed ahead with legalized sports betting, and their treatment of their governor’s budgets is equally progressive. All of which sees Maryland’s voters making some big decisions when voting day comes around in November.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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