By Amanda Yeager | Baltimore Business Journal
The Maryland General Assembly voted April 12 to approve a framework for sports betting in the state. So when can Marylanders expect to start placing wagers?
The rollout for the state’s new sports gambling industry is likely to see some avenues ready for betting before others.
As the industry takes shape under a new set of regulations crafted by the legislature, casinos and race tracks are likely to be among the first facilities approved to accept bets. It could take a little longer for other eligible hosts, like bingo parlors and some professional sports stadiums.
“The whole process could take 12 to 24 months” before the industry is fully up and running, Gordon Medenica, the director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming, predicted April 15.
In an email, Medenica said casinos — which have already been licensed for other forms of gambling — could likely start offering sports betting on-premises sometime in 2021. Other “as-of-right” entities, like thoroughbred horse tracks and off-track betting facilities, would be next in line. They “would simply need to go through the normal gaming license review, which could take 4 to 6 months,” he wrote.
For the stadiums and bingo facilities — also permitted by the legislature to host sports wagers — the process will probably take more time.
The sports betting measure, passed on the final day of this year’s General Assembly session after weeks of negotiations, ended up being much more expansive than an initial House of Delegates proposal, which limited hosts to casinos, race tracks, stadiums on game days and a handful of mobile operators.
The final bill broadened the eligibility list, adding the holders of commercial bingo licenses as well as the Ravens, Orioles and Washington Football teams. The owners of any future National Basketball Association, National Hockey League or Major League Soccer franchises based in Maryland would also be eligible for wagering at their stadiums.
Legislators also allowed for as many as 60 mobile and online betting licenses.
The sports betting measure still needs to be signed by Gov. Larry Hogan before becoming law. Legislators designated the bill an emergency measure, ensuring it will take effect immediately after the governor’s signature.
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Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Meadowlands Racetrack