Maryland Takes Steps To Potentially Legalize Sports Betting, Following 3 Other States

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A new bill introduced in the Maryland state legislature wants to investigate the pros and cons of bringing sports betting to the state.

That makes the fourth state this year to tackle the idea of offering sports wagering.

Maryland sports betting bill would form exploratory committee

New Jersey is making an aggressive push to the Supreme Court while New York and Pennsylvania’s attempts aim to put measures in place in case federal law about sports wagering changes.

Maryland is taking a much more tempered approach to the issue.

The Maryland bill known as House Bill 989 was introduced by Republican Delegates Kevin Hornberger and Jason Buckel.

The proposed legislation wants to establish a Task Force to Study the Implementation of Sports Gaming in the State.

The bill proposes the task force would consist of the following people:

  • Three Maryland state Senate members
  • Three members of the Maryland House of Delegates
  • Director of the State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (currently Gordon Medenica)
  • A representative from video lottery operators
  • A representative from horse racing licensees

The director of State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency would chair the committee, which would require at least two of legislative appointments to be from the minority party.

The task force’s duties would include monitoring developments in sports betting on the federal level, examining how sports betting works in states where it is legal, and filing an annual report and recommendation to the governor’s office.

HB 989 sets up option to sports bet pending PASPA repeal

The bill has a few other important stipulations.

Should the federal government ever repeal or amend the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the task force chair is to notify the legislature so licensed casinos and race tracks within the state can begin accepting wagers.

The bill establishes an infrastructure putting wagering under the purview of the State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

If the bill passes the state legislature, there would still need to be a voter referendum in order for the law to pass.

Other Maryland lawmakers have betting on the brain

A recent article by the Baltimore Sun indicates the sports betting issue could have bipartisan support. In the article, numerous lobbyist, casino executives, and politicians discuss the idea of expanding sports betting in the United States.

“I think it should be a state issue and not a federal issue. I think each state should have the opportunity to look at this from a legal point of view and have a debate about it,” said Democratic Maryland Delegate Dutch Ruppersberger.

PASPA has been in effect for 25 years. Now that President Donald Trump’s Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions has been confirmed, the search for a solicitor general will begin.

Once the solicitor general is confirmed, one of their first tasks will be to consult with the Supreme Court about whether or not to hear the New Jersey sports betting case.

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Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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