Maryland voters will determine future of sports gambling in the state next month
By Bob Garcia
Only a couple of weeks remain until Maryland residents determine if sports gambling should be allowed
Maryland voters will decide a statewide ballot question next month, which would allow gambling on sporting events. Advocates have estimated that as much as $36 million dollars in revenue could be generated in the first fiscal year if sports betting were allowed in Maryland, based on what other states allowing gambling have collected. If Maryland were to apply a 20% tax on sports betting, the state would receive close to $7.3 million in new revenue, according to state officials.
If Maryland were to open online sports betting also, at Maryland casinos and horse racing tracks, state analysts estimate the total revenues could increase by $91 million in the first fiscal year. By allowing both online and in-person betting, the state would bring in closer to $18 million dollars in revenue.
Maryland’s casinos already face competition from nearby states which allow online betting in their casinos. Supporters argue that approving the ballot question would permit Maryland to better regulate gambling in the state, while increasing revenue for budget shortfalls. “Approval of this constitutional amendment would allow the state to regulate this activity while also providing funding support to public schools,” House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson said in an email urging voter support on the ballot question.
Their Republican counterparts want to ensure the money goes toward increasing the funding of education if the ballot question passes next month. “The way they present this is that the money is going to go into education, and our main response is if this passes, we’re going to hold their feet to the fire to make sure it goes to increase spending for education,” said Bryan Simonaire, the recently elected Senate minority leader.