With the signing of HB 940 by Governor Hogan, sports betting is now legal in the State of Maryland. The legislation creates a regulatory structure for the sports gaming industry with numerous provisions, including measures that were of critical importance to the National Football League (NFL), a client of Old Line Government Affairs.
An integral part of the bill includes creation of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which will review and approve licenses and regulations, including rules that govern the conduct of sports wagering. For the NFL, it was important to ensure that the types of wagers on sporting events would be limited so as to protect players and ensure there are no wagers contrary to public policy or unfair to those who are betting. By way of example, it was important to the NFL that no one could bet on injuries to players. The ability to limit objectionable bets adds important guardrails as far as what is allowed and by whom.
The bill also sets up a process for an ‘interested party’ to submit to the Commission a request to prohibit certain types of wagers believed to be contrary to public policy, unfair to consumers, or affecting the integrity of the game. The Commission then must respond to the request prior to the start of the related sporting event where feasible.
Additional elements for the legislation include:
- Regulations for self-service kiosks, devices or machines
- Promotional items
- Manner of receiving and paying out wagers, and maximum wagers
- Creates classes of licensees, distance between them and a fees structure, license terms and renewal fees
- 15% of sports betting proceeds to fund education in Maryland
- $3 million set aside for Morgan State University and Bowie State University to establish a Center for the Study of Data Analytics and Sports Gaming
For a state that has fervent fans and roots with gusto for the Ravens and Orioles, this legislation creates an official and efficient process around sports betting and will no doubt leave an impact on the field and off.