Maryland Is Ready to Take the Next Step After Voting Yes to the Legalization of Sports Betting

As all the USA states were deciding their next president, Maryland State was killing two birds with one stone. Besides voting for a president, Marylanders were also voting to legalize sports betting. Several months before the referendum to vote yes on question 2, several gambling operators, organizations, and government campaigned to encourage Marylanders to vote yes to legalize sports betting.

These campaigns bore fruits considering more than two-thirds of Marylanders backed the move to legalize sports betting. Following the people’s decision, sports betting may begin in early 2021.

What Contributed to the Success?

Several things may have contributed to the success of legal sports betting in the state. Besides the massive campaign from many companies, individuals, and organizations, the promise that the Maryland education system will benefit from the revenue generated from sports betting was a substantial contributing factor.

To be exact, sports betting is expected to contribute from $20 million to $40 million a year to the education system.

According to a Montgomery County Democrat Senator Craig Zucker, it was necessary to vote yes to question 2- legalize sports betting- especially during this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

In his statement, while campaigning for the referendum, Craig said that the economy was hugely affected by the pandemic and would help if the state got additional revenue. The senator said that the money generated from sports betting would help close the state’s education budget gap.

What Next After the Passing of the Referendum?

Before the referendum’s passing, the constitution stated that it was illegal for Marylanders to bet on sports betting. However, the passing of the referendum on November 3, 2020, amended the constitution’s clause stating that now it’s legal to bet on sports. Yet, this was only the first step in a lengthy process of legalizing sports wagering.

Although the legislature had a comprehensive bill containing all the questions regarding sports betting before the 2020 session, the lawmakers will have to look at the whole thing afresh. Some of the things they will have to tackle include:

  • Steps sports operators will follow to gain a permit to offer services in the state
  • Logistics and key details regarding wagering
  • How punters and operators will be taxed to provide the predicted revenue

The good thing is that all the elected officials agree to legalize sports gambling. For starters, the Democratic oriented General Assembly and a Republican Governor Larry Hogan, seem to agree on legalizing gambling.

Considering the largest part of the legislators want to legalize sports wagering, coupled with people’s voice to legalize sports wagering, it’s a matter of when the state’s residents will start betting on sports.

When Can We Expect to Start Betting?

Other states that passed the referendum to legalize sports wagering focused on being ready before a football season commence. This is because football is the most lucrative sport in the U.S. and sportsbooks that accept American punters. Thus, we can assume that Maryland will take the same route and launch sports betting in late summer or early fall in 2021.

According to Joe Weinberg, a Managing Partner and CEO of Cordish Gaming Group, which is the parent company of Live! situated in Maryland, the sports betting launch could fall shortly before football commence.

In his statement, Weinberg said that all that remained was for the legislature to pass and allow legislation and Maryland Lottery to propagate regulations. The state’s legislature will convene in mid-January, and the session will run through mid-April. Looking at the timeline, the lawmakers could enact the legislation in the first quarter of the year and necessary gambling operators going live with retail shops and mobile betting in the second or third quarter of 2021.

Every company looking to venture into the Maryland betting market is working to ensure that they are ready to offer service once the legislation is outlined. All is remaining is to implement retail and mobile betting once the lawmakers give the go-ahead.


Our in-house expert for all things regulation, Jackson covers all major recent developments across US states relating to gambling laws & legislation.