Casino game fans in Maryland have been anticipating the legalization of iGaming. Reports indicate that the state will consider expanding its casino industry next year but some unions have started opposing the move.
The legislature failed to pass an iGaming constitutional amendment early this year. But the public has started backing roulette, slots and poker. Yet, union officials claim that online gaming will cause many workers in six Maryland casinos to lose jobs.
Maryland commissioned a report revealing that online casino gaming can be a billion-dollar sector. Its legislators didn’t act on a gaming regulation that was introduced before their adjournment in spring. The Department of Legislative Services Office of Policy Analysis incorporated online gaming in the latest comprehensive report amongst the issues that lawmakers will discuss in 2024.
The State Has a Huge iGaming Potential
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency contracted The Innovation Group to research on iGaming’s potential in the state. The Las Vegas firm discovered that online gaming can rake in $533 million in gross revenue for the state in the first year. Then, the revenue will increase to $900 million within three years.
Still, the report showed that iGaming will reduce land-based casinos’ revenue by $200 million. The Innovation Group proposed Maryland to charge 10 to 30 percent tax on gross gaming receipts.
Typically, online gaming operators pay a higher tax than brick-and-mortar casinos. However, the consulting firm urged the state to impose a 20 percent iGaming tax to create a balance between online and land-based gaming operations.
It stated that it will be difficult to create a higher iGaming tax rate and expect casinos to deter players from wagering at illegal sites due to the current tax. The report highlighted that Maryland needs to tax at least 15 percent of gaming revenue for it to be beneficial. This would help it generate $37.4 million in gaming tax revenue in 2029.
Yet, it would incur a $7.8 million revenue loss if it sets 10 percent tax. However, Maryland would rake in about $308.9 million if it imposes a 45 percent gaming tax.
The report indicates that the introduction of iGaming would increase problem gambling in the state as witnessed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Therefore, The Innovation Group proposed the state to spend part of its gaming revenue to curb problem gambling.
How Would Marylanders Vote in a Gaming Ballot?
A recent poll showed that 75 percent of adult Marylanders would back an online gaming drive if it is incorporated in next year’s ballot. MDBettinng.com commissioned the poll featuring 1,000 registered voters and Pollfish conducted it. People from different age groups, education levels and ages supported the iGaming measure.
Pollfish found that 69 percent of women supported iGaming while 83 percent of men backed it. 63 percent of voters below 25 want online gaming unlike 72 percent of residents above 54 years.