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Maryland Legislature Passes Sports Betting Bill

Bill Heads To Governor's Desk And Would Put The Issue On The Ballot In November

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In the final hours of Maryland’s 2020 legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that would allow voters to decide in November whether sports betting is legalized.

SB 4 was passed earlier this week by the House of Delegates in a landslide 129-3 vote and now heads to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk. The bill would allow each licensee to provide both brick-and-mortar and online sports betting.

If Hogan signs the bill, it will be a statewide referendum issue this November.

While this was a last-minute passage, the time crunch became an issue because of the rapid spread of coronavirus throughout the country. In response to the outbreak, the legislative session was cut short by three weeks.

The House made slight changes to the original bill Tuesday night to ensure that minority groups would be able to obtain licenses. The Senate quickly passed the amended bill Wednesday with hours to spare before the end of the session.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the bill would allow casinos, racetracks and some professional sports franchises to receive licenses. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder started lobbying lawmakers for a license earlier this year as more stadiums are getting the green light to allow sports betting during events.

The revised bill allows a wider array of groups the ability to receive licenses.

The online aspect of the bill is a key component to the overall health of the sports betting market. In New Jersey, more than 80 percent of the revenue comes from online betting. Rhode Island didn’t even come close to its projected tax revenue with solely brick-and-mortar betting and ended up passing another bill to allow online betting months later.