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Maryland iGaming Bill Heading to Senate

The Old Line State’s iGaming Hopes are still alive

Rows of slot machines on a casino floor.
New slot machines, part of Potawatomi Casino Hotel’s latest round of renovations, which includes new gaming areas, bars and restaurants, located on the third floor on Thursday September 7, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wis.-CREDIT: Syndication: Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Robert Linnehan

Maryland’s iGaming journey still has a heartbeat.

Rep. Vanessa Atterbeary’s (D-13) iGaming bill, HB 1319, passed out of the House of Delegates by a 92-43 vote on Saturday, March 16, ahead of today’s crossover deadline. The bill, needing a constitutional amendment to go into effect, narrowly eclipsed the necessary three-fifths majority to be approved.

While the bill’s hopes are still alive, it now heads to the Senate where legislators have less than three weeks to get something done.

iGaming Hopes Still Alive in Maryland

Atterbeary’s bill allows for up to 30 iGaming licenses in the state at an initial application cost of $1 million. The licenses last for five years and include three tiers; those for brick-and-mortar casinos, those for Class B wagering facilities licensed for online sports betting, and between five to 18 competitively-awarded, untethered iGaming licenses.

Maryland’s six casinos would be able to partner with up to three iGaming operators if the bill is approved.

The bill also includes a number of safeguards that ensure minority- and women-owned business will have an equity stake in the new industry.

License holders would have the opportunity to renew their licenses for a renewal fee of 1% of their average annual proceeds from their last three years of business. The bill specifically notes that license holders would be prohibited from accepting revenue from countries where iGaming is illegal or a country known for money laundering.

The bill has gone through several amendments, including a prohibition on users funding iGaming accounts with a credit card.

If approved by the Senate, and then approved by a simple majority of Maryland voters in the November general election, iGaming would be taxed at a rate of 55%. The majority of iGaming revenues are earmarked for the state’s Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which primarily benefits state education.

According to the bill’s fiscal summary, Maryland could see $4.5 million in additional revenue in FY 2025 if iGaming is legalized, but would see revenues increase by nearly $200 million in FY 2026 ($206.5 million) and upwards of $340 million by FY 2029.

Challenges Still Remain

While the House moved the bill forward, Senate members have said on a number of occasions this session that they have no desire to hear an iGaming bill. Additionally, casino labor union representatives are vehemently opposed to the new legislation, citing fears that iGaming will cannibalize revenue from the state’s brick and mortar casinos.

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-46) and Senate Budget Taxation Chair Guy Guzzone (D-13) have both said the Senate will not hear an iGaming bill this session.

Guzzone has held true to his word, as the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee has yet to take any action on two Senate-introduced iGaming bills this year.


Robert Linnehan

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling. Editing/writing/creating a newsletter for readers across all formats.

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