Maryland Voters Play Kingmakers in Sports Betting Legislation

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Residents in Maryland will have a kingmaking role in deciding whether or not the state should go ahead with sports betting legislation.

This coming November, people will be asked Maryland’s Question 2 to determine whether residents want to see legalized sports betting in the state. The state’s racetracks and casinos had been looking forward to seeing the results of this for months. However, even if voters approve of Question 2, there is a long path to tread until sports betting is live.

There is an urgency for sports betting in Maryland for two reasons. Firstly, pandemic-led economic issues have magnified the need to find more revenue sources. Secondly, the Old Line State has been witnessing neighboring states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania reaping huge financial benefits from the industry, including from Maryland residents who have traveled across state borders to play.

What Will Question 2 Ask?

Besides voting for the next president on the polling day on November 3, Marylanders will also decide on sports betting as they vote on Question 2. It will ask the following:

“Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in Maryland to authorize sports betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”

The straightforwardness of the questions is evident. People in Maryland will either vote yes or no on sports betting legislation. Moreover, the wording of the questions makes it easily understandable where the revenue will be going. However, many residents still want to know what sports betting in Maryland will look like.

What Will Sports Betting Look Like in Maryland?

Currently, there are few details regarding what sports betting would look like in the state. The lack of information has left people confused about the future of gambling expansion.

Fundamentally, Question 2 predominantly serves as a clean hit to state leaders, green-lighting them on gaming expansion if they are not stopped by a majority “NO” vote. More precisely, the state lawmakers want the public input and approval before carving out what sports betting would look like.

Right now, the only aspects that have been clarified are the diversion of the revenue and when sports betting would become legal. The revenue raised from this industry will be diverted to the Education Trust Fund. This, in turn, will fund help schools, alongside meeting various other educational needs in Maryland. However, without an agreed tax for sports wagering, voters have little idea whether this gaming expansion could benefit financially or not.

If Question 2 is approved, the new law will come into effect on July 2, 2021. Lawmakers will probably initiate the legal process of devising a sports betting platform this coming January in preparation for the changes in legislation. At that phase, the state lawmakers will have to examine various crucial aspects of sports betting, including the tax rate. They will also have to see what sports will be wagered on, besides determining whether or not to allow mobile betting.

Daily Fantasy Sports

Another point that has been missed out in Question 2 is the allowance of Daily Fantasy Sports, a popular activity among bettors. As of now, the leading operators like DraftKings and FanDuel are allowed to operate in the state, yet DFS is also linked to Question 2.

Though Maryland has been snail pacing while half the states have already legalized sports betting, the state will hopefully join them by 2021.

November will be a critical phase in Maryland’s quest for gaming expansion. Either the state will catch up with the times or will be left behind as the neighboring states generate whopping revenues, not only from their residents but also from the Marylanders who cross their state borders to bet on sports.

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