January 9, 2020

Insight 2020: Sports Betting

Our Insight 2020 blog series will provide you with updates and news regarding the Maryland General Assembly and the 2020 Legislative Session.

Among the many key issues to be addressed during the 2020 Maryland Legislative Session will be the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission – the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education named for the Chair of the Commission, William “Brit” Kirwan, Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Maryland – and how they will be funded.

According to an article in Maryland Matters, “House Appropriations Chairwoman Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) said a number of revenue options will be considered next legislative session, but big increases may not be necessary….McIntosh said the legislature is likely to consider a number of smaller revenue changes over time, rather than a single large tax increase.”

A possible source of funding the legislature will consider is revenue generated from sports betting. An amendment to the state constitution is needed for Maryland to expand gambling, which requires a public referendum, therefore, a bill will be introduced this session to send the issue of sports betting to a referendum in the 2020 general election. The proposed legislation will include a lot of detail outlining how sports betting will be regulated in Maryland so the State can implement the regulatory framework immediately following the anticipated passage in November.

Maryland is surrounded by states – Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia – that have legalized sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a ban that kept states, with the exception of Nevada, from allowing sports betting. According to an article in the Washington Post, “Miller, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) had all expressed support late last year for legislation to approve sports betting, so that Maryland would not lag behind other states who are legalizing the practice.”

Presently, Maryland law allows betting on horses, table games and slots in its gaming gambling portfolio.

The legislation will involve lobbying by many stakeholders, including casinos, horse tracks, online gaming technology companies, professional sports teams and leagues, as well as grassroots organizations. All will be debating issues surrounding the legislation that include establishing where bets can be placed (casinos, tracks, gaming apps), data integrity, and what specifically can be bet on. To be sure, the sports betting legislation will be a lively debate.

Be sure to follow our blog and our podcast in the coming weeks as we provide a deeper dive on key issues. For more information about how our team can help you achieve your government affairs goals for 2020, contact us or visit our web site.

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