The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission (MLGC) will conduct a study to determine the state’s potential outcome of legalizing online casinos.
The study aims to understand the potential impact on players better if Maryland legalizes online casino gaming. The study will also focus on the estimated market size, economic results and effect on problem gambling.
State Sen. Ronald L. Watson, D-Prince George’s County, was the co-sponsor of 2023’s failed bill (SB 267) to legalize Maryland online casinos.
This study could find that the state would benefit from online casino gaming. In that case, Watson (and other proponents) would likely introduce legislation to legalize this gambling form in the next year’s legislative session.
While the 2023 bill fell short, this study could influence more lawmakers to vote on it. Since Maryland’s state constitution forbids gambling, any changes must be approved by voters.
What will the online casino impact study focus on?
The state lottery will set up a third party to handle the study. Once established, the group will focus its research on a few essential areas, such as:
- Estimated online casino market size in Maryland
- Potential economic impact on the state’s retail casino locations
- Potential impact on the state’s lottery system
- Online casino potential impact on problem gambling
- Results from other states with legal online casinos
The results have to be submitted by Nov. 15 to the Maryland General Assembly.
Maryland online casino bill failed, could get a second chance in 2024
Still, it generated enough attention, and Maryland legislators included the MLGC online casino impact study in the next year’s budget. Some provisions of SB267 also can make their way into 2024’s legislation.
Some highlights of Maryland’s online casino bill include:
- The State Lottery and Gaming Commission will oversee online casino
- An initial license fee of $500,000 for five years
- A license renewal fee of 1% of the average annual proceeds from the previous three years
- Online casino revenue tax rate of 15%
- Operators can deduct free play and promotional credits from revenue before paying taxes
- State tax revenue minus regulatory expenses would go to the Education Trust Fund
Maryland sports betting has been profitable for seven months
Maryland allows legal sports betting in retail casino casinos, stadiums, and online sportsbooks. Players can also bet on pari-mutuel horse racing and daily fantasy sports.
The state legalized Maryland sportsbooks in December 2021, while online sports betting went live in November last year.
Online sports betting in Maryland came more than two years after voters approved of sports betting at the election. Maryland lawmakers established the outline in the spring of 2021, and Gov. Larry Hogan signed the legislation in May 2021.
There are currently 10 MD sportsbook apps, including renowned online gambling brands like BetMGM, BetRiver, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel. Tax revenue goes toward helping fund public schools.