Maryland is the Latest State to Approve Sports Betting
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed a sports betting law at the last minute, making the state the latest to approve the practice after voters had overwhelmingly expressed their desires in favor of the measure at the ballot box in November. The state is the 19th most populous in the country and the home to three Big Four professional venues: The Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, the Washington Football Team’s FedEx Field and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
What Happens Next for Sports Betting in Maryland?
Before the state can see its first sports wager, details of how the practice will operate in Maryland will need to be worked out by state regulators, then applications for licenses will be submitted and reviewed for approval. Maryland’s legislation allows the most online sportsbook licenses of any state in the country, with as many as 60 available to qualified applicants.
Maryland is the last of its bordering states to legalize sports betting, with Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, the District of Columbia and West Virginia already on board. All of the major online and retail sportsbook players will be lining up to get access to a population that ranks at the top of per capita income in the nation.
If all of those entities that are granted access allowed by the legislation, Maryland will have by far the most extensive sports betting network in the country, with major league sports arenas and stadiums, ractracks, casinos, minor league stadiums, bars, restaurants, fair grounds and other small businesses able to apply for licenses. The intent was for as many entities as possible to benefit from the revenue producing opportunities that sports betting affords, with unlimited licenses given serious consideration at one point.
The state will receive 15% of all sports betting revenue within Maryland and they project tax collections to total $20 million annually, although it could be much higher than their estimates given the broad access that the legislation affords. Sports betting will fall under the Maryland State Lottery which is responsible for developing the final regulations and approving applications for licenses.
Are Too Many Licenses Available
With the large number of licenses available, it’s realistic to expect that all of the major sportsbook operators will end up with a retail and/or online presence in Maryland, including Caesars Entertainment/William Hill, FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM among others. Maryland also joins three other localities to approve sportsbook operations within stadiums and arenas, which will provide operators partnership opportunities with sports franchises.
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While Maryland’s attempt to make sports betting almost ubiquitous throughout the state could be viewed as a good development for industry proponents, some potential operators may view the larger number of available licenses as oversaturation, making it difficult to carve out a large enough market to make it worth operating in the state. Maryland may find that their efforts to give an opportunity to as many entities as possible may actually act as a deterrent to the very players they need to lead the way.