(The Center Square) – Online sports wagering has arrived in Maryland, just in time for Thanksgiving.
The official launch of online sports betting is scheduled to go live at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan said, at seven sportsbooks across the state.
According to the fiscal note attached to the bill, sports wagering facilities licensees and mobile sports wagering licensees will keep 85% of proceeds. The other 15% will go to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, the Problem Gambling Fund, and small, minority-owned, and women-owned business Sports Wagering Assistance Fund, which will be used for loans and grants.
Hogan, the state’s Republican governor who is in the final months of his second term in office, said the process took “longer than it should have” but said he was satisfied that the launch will allow residents to place bets on Thanksgiving Day NFL football games and college football this weekend.
“In addition to allowing Marylanders to bet on the NFL, March Madness, and so much more, sports betting is helping us keep these critical dollars in the state and is providing another critical revenue source for Maryland schools,” Hogan said in a release.
Hogan said sports betting is anticipated “to bring up to $30 million in revenue next year.” He also said sports betting totals could reach nearly $100 million over the next five years.
Sportsbooks, including Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and PointsBet, are expected to go live.
PlayMaryland estimates more than $4 billion would be wagered in the state next year, and those bets would generate almost $75 million in tax revenue.
“Maryland hasn’t come close to realizing its potential yet, but the coming addition of online betting is about to change that,” Eric Ramsey, lead data analyst at PlayMaryland, said in the report. “The competitive framework and the growing familiarity with betting among residents have sown the seeds for what figures to be a quick ramp-up. A $4-billion year would immediately bring Maryland into the same range as Tennessee and Indiana, both more mature and more populous markets.”
Sportsbooks were anticipated to be awarded licenses last week through the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which worked in conjunction with the Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff on fulfilling requirements to operate in the state. The State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission will regulate the industry.
Sports betting became legal in 2020. Maryland voters overwhelmingly ratified a referendum on the issue. House Bill 940 went into effect in May 2021 with Hogan’s signature.