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Maryland has had a successful legal sports betting market in operation since December 9, and now state Senators Ron Young and Michael Hough are hoping to change the way new licenses are granted, at least in terms of geography, with a new bill that they are now sponsoring.
In mid-January, Senators Young and Hough filed Senate Bill 297, a piece of legislation that would prevent the governing body, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), from issuing new licenses to operators within certain distances of existing facilities.
The newly launched Free State sports betting scene must be getting crowded for such a bill to be introduced so early in the game, the Maryland market having been lucrative so far with a $16.5 million handle since it opened and almost $470k going to public education programs.
Back in November, the SWARC got the betting ball rolling by issuing five land-based betting licenses with those facilities already operational, and since then three more retail locations have been approved for licenses and their businesses should be up and running shortly.
What SB 297 should do is keep new licensees from crowding that space.
The sports betting venues in Maryland are identified and divided by classes, with the state’s professional sports stadiums and large casinos labeled as Class A-1 and smaller casinos and racinos labeled as Class A-2 sportsbooks.
If SB 297 were made into law, the SWARC would not be able to issue any new licenses in Allegany, Cecil, and Worcester Counties to any new operator within 15 miles of any existing Class A-1 and A-2 sportsbooks.
That distance shortens to 10 miles from any Class B-1 (state fairgrounds and bingo halls) and Class B-2 (25+ workers, $3M+ sales) venues in Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, or Washington County.
The bill would also prohibit any new licenses to be issued within 1.5 miles of any existing sportsbooks in Maryland, and all this would go into effect by the summer on the first of June if SB 297 makes it through state congress and gets signed by Governor Larry Hogan.
It’s no wonder the competition for space is so fierce given the amount of money at stake here.
The Maryland sports betting market is one of the newer ones in the US where over the half states are now taking advantage of the Supreme Court having overturned PASPA back in May 2018.
Maryland’s first month numbers break down like this:
The sports betting laws in Maryland have set a tax rate of 15% on taxable wins, which equated to almost a half-million dollars ($470k) that went to various state public education programs, impressive amounts for just one month.
Industry experts and state lawmakers project a fully operational Maryland sports betting market to generate over $100 million in annual revenue, a number that will keep growing as all the welcome freebies run out and the industry is off and running.
That’s a win for Maryland’s lawmakers, sportsbooks, bettors, and public schools, all benefitting from an existing gambling revenue stream that, since December, has been redirected back home.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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