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PlayUSA Rewind: Maryland Finally Pushes Sports Betting Over The Finish Line

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on April 14, 2021 - Last Updated on April 21, 2021
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They did it — Maryland finally did it — the state is a governor’s signature away from legalizing sports betting.

But when one industry succeeds, another has to falter, right?

This week, Maryland lawmakers pass a sports betting bill, the Pennsylvania horse racing industry prepares for a $200 million loss, and Lousiana sports betting discussions commence.

For even more coverage, be sure and follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for all the latest insights.

On the rewind:

Maryland sports betting is on the way

The only things holding up legal sports betting in Maryland are a list of legislative formalities and a signature from Gov. Larry Hogan.

State lawmakers have crafted a complex bill that includes 60, yes, 60 online licenses available for mobile sports betting. On top of this, there will be six retail sportsbooks at Maryland casinos, plus five additional sportsbooks at the state’s sporting venues like Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.

The sports betting tax rate will be set at 15%, with a sizable chunk ($10 million) set aside for public education.

The takeaway: This is a lot to unpack, and it will most certainly be a topic of discussion in the months to follow. Regardless, Maryland residents won’t have to wait much longer to start placing bets. While it might not be tomorrow, the thought process has to be launching before the 2021 NFL season.

Has Pennsylvania Gov. given up on horse racing?

Gov. Tom Wolf wants to reroute $200 million used for the horse racing industry to a scholarship program for students enrolled at the 14 state-owned universities.

Could this be a sign that the governor has given up on the industry?

Money from the PA Race Hose Development Trust Fund is needed to “prop up” the state’s racing industry, which, much like across the US, has seen its fair share of hardships.

However, officials within the Wolf administration say the funds are being used to keep the industry afloat rather than offer support as originally intended.

The takeaway: Beginning July 1, the trust fund is set to receive $239 million in aid. In February, Wolf said he would rather bet on the future of PA students than out-of-state racehorse owners — ouch. The deal is far from done, but Wolf’s administration did say horse racing would be left with $39 million. I suppose that’s better than nothing. But is it enough?

Maine tries to legalize sports betting again

It looks like Maine is going to give sports betting another try.

A new bill filed by Sen. Louis Luchini will attempt to legalize ME sports betting after a failed attempt last year.

Details are simple, $20,000 licensing fee, 10% tax rate, and the ability for any “qualified gaming entity” to operate sports betting. Additionally, the bill clarifies that a sports betting operator does not need to partner with either of the state’s two casinos (Penn National and Churchill Downs).

Last year, Penn and Churchill opposed Lunchini’s bill, basically saying sports betting should be for those who had “invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the state.”

Perhaps now that Penn has the Barstool Sportsbook up and running, their position on the issue might change.

The takeaway: Surrounding states like Rhode Island and New Hampshire already have sports betting. Connecticut is on the verge of launching a product, and to the North, Canada has plans to legalize sports betting in 2021. Maine would be smart not to be the last one to the table.

Louisiana lawmakers get ready to talk sports betting

Get ready for two months of backroom deals, political leveraging, and a furry of disagreements as lawmakers begin discussing sports betting in Louisiana.

Following the November elections, 56 of 64 parishes voted to legalize sports betting. However, it will be no easy task. Louisiana has several gambling options, all of which will certainly try and get a sliver of the pie.

The legislative session runs from April 12 through June 10, so a two-month window should be enough time to craft a bill.

The takeaway: The main attraction will be truck stops. Since these groups can operate video poker, they too want sports betting. Truck stops can also contribute to political campaigns so, are lawmakers willing to give up dollars by excluding them? All this and more will make for great political theater.

Market Teasers

This week’s market teasers are the obvious winners of the New York mobile sports betting sweepstakes — which is nobody. The big winners most certainly are DraftKings and Flutter Entertainment. Although a case could be made for Penn National should it be able to gain market access.


$DKNG | $58.88 | -0.36% change

  • NY mobile sports betting has been on every operator’s radar for quite some time. While the specific model might not be the best, it’s better than nothing. DraftKings is partnered with del Lago Resort and just secured a deal in Arizona with the PGA Tour to open a sportsbook.

Flutter Entertainment

$PDYPY | $105.52 | 0.64% change

  • Much like its heated rival, FanDuel has sports betting partnership with Tioga Downs. As the number one sports betting operator in the US, FanDuel is expected to keep the trend going once things get off the ground in the Empire State.

** Market Teasers is not financial advice, nor am I a financial advisor. All figures were taken at April 13th’s market close.

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Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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