he Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday voted 130-9 to approve a bill that would allow online sports, at the state's six casinos and the stadiums where Maryland's three major professional sports teams play.
The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would allow 22 locations where people could place bets in person, as reported by the Associated Press. In addition to casinos, the three stadiums that are home to the Baltimore Ravens, the Washington Football Team and the Baltimore Orioles baseball team could have sports betting sites. Horse racing tracks at Pimlico in Baltimore and Laurel Park, as well as the state fairgrounds in Timonium would be able to have licenses too. Another license would be allowed at a “riverboat” off-track betting facility on the Potomac River in Charles County.
The bill, which would take effect June 1, would allow 10 more licenses for in-person locations that would be open to applicants. Moreover, fifteen licenses would be allowed for online and mobile wagering, where most of the wagering is expected to happen. Businesses could apply for licenses for both on-line sites and mobile ones online.
Wagers on professional and college sports would be allowed, as well as international sporting events such as the Olympics, and fantasy sports wagering also would be allowed.
The state expects to raise between $15 million and $19 million annually from sports betting that would be used to help pay for education. Under the measure, the licensee would keep about 85% of sports-betting revenue on the first $5 million in revenue and 82.5% of revenue over $5 million. The rest of the revenue generated from sports betting would go to the state.
Sponsored by House Speaker Adrienne Jones, the measure would create a commission with the power to boost minority participation when licenses are awarded.
The House’s vote came after little discussion and debate. Some lawmakers have raised concerns that they’d like to see more licenses available, including for existing off-track betting locations. In the Senate, a work group has held a couple of meetings to discuss issues of sports gambling, but no bill has been introduced. If the Senate changes the House bill, the differences would have to be worked out before sending it to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for his consideration.
Sports betting was approved in a November ballot question with 67% support of voters in the state.