Working at breakneck speed, the State of Maryland has been clearing the hurdles necessary to make sports betting a reality. It was just seven months ago, last November, that voters in the state amended their constitution to allow sports betting.
On May 23, Governor Larry Hogan signed a sports betting bill (HB 940) into law. The bill codifies the regulation of the operator licenses in the state. Observers predict that several licenses will be issued for sports betting before the NFL season.
With the governor putting his signature on the bill, Maryland becomes the fifth state to put legalized sports betting into law in 2021, joining Arizona, New York, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
How Maryland’s Mobile Sports Betting Will Be Different
Unlike other states, Maryland is pitching a large tent by creating licensing opportunities for gaming operators of all sizes. Maryland wants their sports betting to be diverse and inclusive, which is why they have created licensing tiers ranging from a fee of $2 million down to $50,000.
The incremental licensing fee structure is expected to enable dozens of companies, including local gaming companies, to apply for sports betting licenses in Maryland. It’s anticipated that this could lead to more innovation and a better product for Maryland consumers.
The law in Maryland will allow as many as 60 online sportsbooks, which is the highest total in the country. By comparison, New Jersey has about 22 sportsbooks and that state typically leads the nation in average monthly sportsbook handle.
Maryland Sports Betting Revenue Will Benefit Education
By law, much of the taxes and fees gathered by the state on sports betting will be targeted for use for public education programs. Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission believe as much as $184 million annually could be generated from mobile sports betting.
When Will You Be Able To Bet Legally On Sports In Maryland?
The bill signed by Governor Hogan has an emergency provision, which means it can go into effect immediately. Now that he has signed it, expect the regulatory boards to begin accepting and evaluating license applications.
The Maryland sports betting law allows the three major professional teams in the state (the Orioles, Ravens, and Washington Football Team) to apply for licenses. It also has provisions for licensing at famed Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, two popular horse racing venues.
Expect to see the larger sportsbook companies receive approval first, most likely in late summer of 2021, in time for the upcoming NFL season. Others, including many smaller sportsbooks and local sportsbook operators who do not have relationships with established retail partners in Maryland, will likely be approved later in stages.