The year 2020 wasted little time making headlines.
States have already made rapid movement toward legalizing sports betting. Or, in the case of one state, beat New Year’s Day altogether in launching a regulated industry.
That was 2019 in a nutshell: proposed legislation, quick ratification and rapid growth of a newly legalized vertical.
As such, and to paraphrase Chandler Bing, could this week’s PlayUSA Rewind BE any more fitting?
Crowning New Hampshire sports betting
It’s like the Granite State didn’t want to exit 2019 without legalized sports betting.
As ceremoniously rung in by Gov. Chris Sununu, New Hampshire sports betting kicked off Dec. 30, 2019. The governor wagered $82 on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. (Whoops.)
Regardless, New Hampshire became the sixth state to launch regulated sports betting in 2019, as the New Hampshire Lottery leveraged its partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook to roll out an online sportsbook just before the new year.
Unlike its counterpart states, New Hampshire actually beat its initial timeline for launch; the Granite State anticipated a betting app hitting the market in January. That came after the state approved the contract between the NH Lottery and DraftKings in November.
DraftKings will split gross revenue 50/50 with the lottery, and it will have the opportunity to power up to 10 retail sportsbooks throughout the state.
Is Maryland sports betting on deck?
Technically, no. But discussion about legalizing the industry is about to pick up.
Sen. Chris West pre-filed SB 58, a bill that would allow horse tracks and casinos in Maryland to offer regulated sports betting. That said, the bill does not include online wagering.
Still, state legislators might pass–and state voters could approve–the bill this year, per Legal Sports Report. New forms of gambling in the state, after all, require constitutional amendments via referendums.
The pre-filed bill itself is brief. The two pages detail that five horse tracks and six casinos in the state would be eligible for sports betting licenses. West indicated that Maryland would tax wagering at a 20% rate, which is the same as table games.
As estimated by West, sports betting in Maryland would generate between $40 million and $60 million annually.
It’s still early in the year, obviously. Certainly, state lawmakers will hear/propose about money potentially being left on the table by not including online wagering. As West told Legal Sports Report, there will almost definitely be more bills proposed down the line. Though West cited that “all kinds of issues” could be raised with online sports betting; issues that could kill bills attempting to legalize wagering.