The long process of sports betting legalization in the State of Maryland is almost over. The bill passed both State Houses and was signed by the governor. Still, some more time is required before it is fully implemented and citizens can legally bet on sports. Hopefully, everything will be ready before the start of the 2021 NFL season.
On the other hand, citizens of Maryland have for some years already been able to completely legally bet on fantasy sports.
Legalization – Finally
A bill that legalizes sports betting in Maryland has finally passed both the State House and State Senate. In April 2021, both houses voted to adopt the bill, which finally sets the rules for legal betting in the state. The bill allows for 30 retail licenses to be handed out, as well as for 60 online sportsbooks to be licensed. This is a huge number that surpassed any other legalization process we saw in the US so far.
Also, a license fee is established: $50,000 for minor retail operators, and $250,000 for the major ones. Additionally, the annual charge for major operators is another $50,000, and for the minor ones $10,000. On the other hand, online sportsbooks will be charged $500,000 to apply and receive an annual fee of $100,000.
The bill establishes that the Maryland Gaming Commission is the institution in charge of regulating, licensing, and overseeing all sports betting with a tax rate of 15% for major retail vendors and online sportsbooks.
It Was a Long Process
It took a lot of effort and different attempts of legalization, to get where we are today.
Before they were outlawed in 1968, Maryland was a state with a high interest in slot machines. In fact, in the late 1940s, in addition to Nevada, Maryland was the only state in the US to legally offer slot machines that were paying in hard cash.
Of course, like in the rest of the country, except for Nevada, sports betting was outlawed with the passing of PASPA by the supreme court in 1992. And while in 1968, gambling was forbidden altogether, in 1973, a state lottery was established – which thus far generated more than 14 billion in revenue for Maryland.
In 2018, steps towards legalization were made. That year, a bill that aimed to legalize sports betting was introduced, but in the end, it wasn’t voted on. An additional complication for the whole process was the fact that full legalization in Maryland required the state constitution to be amended, and that had to be ratified by voters. And in the end, it happened.
In November 2020, the citizens of Maryland passed a ballot measure that legalized sports betting. And this is what set the ground for the current bill to be adopted.
Still, some more time will be required before you can legally bet on sports in the state. The bill, now signed by the governor, will go into effect on July 1st. But, detailed rules and regulations need to be set up, and only after that will the new law be fully implemented. It is projected that all of this will be done in time for sports betting in Maryland to be up and running by the start of the 2021 NFL season.
On the other hand, the state even now offers the possibility to legally bet on fantasy sports. Other states usually chose to keep fantasy sports in the gray area, but, in 2012, Maryland was the first state to pass a law that explicitly legalized fantasy sports betting.
What is it exactly? Well, when engaging in fantasy sports betting, gamblers bet on virtual teams composed of proxies of real players. Such teams compete based on the statistical performances of actual players in actual games. The result is an experience that is very close to betting on actual sports results. What is certain is that this industry is currently thriving in the state and shows no signs of slowing down, with many operators offering daily bets. Being a fan, you can check the options for placing your daily fantasy sports bets at the World Sports Network website. That way, you will always stay up-to-date with the best offers on the market.
The history of attempts of legalizing sports betting, and gambling in general, in the State of Maryland, is very long. But the history of gambling is even longer, and in Maryland, this activity is legal again. Soon, when all the regulations are in place and ready, citizens will once again be able to engage in it in a fully legal way.
But the appeal of gambling, and sports betting in particular, is shown in people’s capacity to always come up with new forms and options. One of them, that gained a lot of popularity in recent years, is fantasy sports. And maybe at some point, this was a substitute for the “real thing”, but it is obvious that it has become a thing of its own now, and a thriving industry that’s not going away – even after sports betting is fully legalized by the end of this year.