uestion 2 on the 2020 election ballot in Maryland asked residents if they think sports betting should be legal, allowing for revenue to be generated for education. As of Wednesday morning, with 100% of election day results reported, 1,319,439 Marylanders voted in favor of sports betting while 671,988 voted against it (66.3% to 33.7%). The Associated Press called the race Tuesday night in favor of Question 2 with 52% of the precincts reporting.
A nonpartisan analysis estimated that Maryland could bring in $18.2 million per year from a combination of in-person and mobile betting on sports, assuming the state would tax sports gambling revenue at 20% as it does table games in the state’s casinos, The Baltimore Sun reports.
The details for the launch will need to be discussed by the General Assembly, which is expected to address the issue in January, when lawmakers reconvene in Annapolis. The debate over how to establish the industry will be informed by a “disparity study” to determine whether racial minorities or women face a disadvantage in participating in the gambling industry. If the study finds that’s the case, lawmakers may need to include provisions so that underrepresented groups have a chance to participate. With those questions unresolved, it’s not known yet when bettors will be able to place a wager.
Sports betting companies, casinos, the horse racing industry and Washington’s NFL team poured millions into their effort to persuade voters to support sports gambling. DraftKings and FanDuel have contributed $2.75 million into Vote Yes on 2, the campaign to boost public support for Maryland’s referendum. Maryland's governor Larry Hogan, Democratic and Republican politicians alike, as well as the statewide teachers' union, also backed Question 2. Proponents said sports betting would raise money for public education, though there is not yet a concrete plan for how much money would be raised and how much would be distributed to school systems.
MGM, which runs the biggest casino in Maryland, spent $500,000 in support of legalizing sports betting, with the hopes of hosting both a sports book and online gaming through a mobile app. It hopes to use its clout in Prince George’s County to bring sports betting to National Harbor and to the state through its mobile app.
“We look forward to our continued work with the legislature on a bill,” said Jorge Perez, President of MGM National Harbor, WTOP reports. “We have many customers that request this amenity.” He said MGM has already started planning.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy already thinking through how to bring the best and most exciting amenity to our consumer,” said Perez, who said that planning includes both a physical sportsbook that would operate at National Harbor, as well as a mobile app run by MGM.