Maryland lawmakers are considering two bills related to online gambling

Maryland is currently one of the most promising states for legalizing online gambling, including poker. Online sports betting was introduced in November 2022, but lawmakers recently introduced two bills that would add more forms of online gambling.

In two hearings earlier this week, lawmakers were presented with the details of each bill and revenue projections, as well as the views of supporters and opponents.

Details about the plans

The two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, impose higher tax rates than in many other states. One invoice has a tax rate of 47% while the second invoice has a tax rate of 55%. Live streaming games like blackjack with a real dealer but played online would be taxed at 20%. The funds would help fund education and problem gambling programs.

More and more states are turning to iGaming to offset budget problems. According to recent reports, Maryland was projecting a $1.1 billion deficit in this year’s budget.

Lawmakers considered a similar bill last year but decided to study the issue instead. The Innovation Group prepared a report for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and predicted the industry could generate more than $300 million in state revenue by 2029.

Vanessa E. Atterbeary (D), the bill’s sponsor, said passing the bill made sense “to regulate iGaming and generate that revenue.”

Opposing views

Casino industry insiders spoke to the House Ways and Means Committee about the potential of iGaming, as well as the possibility of bringing those already offshore online gambling into a legal market.

They also sought to address casino staff concerns that online gambling would “cannibalize” revenue at live casinos. A recent study actually suggests that casino companies’ revenues increase when iGaming is legalized.

“This is in addition to what we offer in a brick-and-mortar casino.” MGM said resort manager Rick Limardo. “Someone behind their computer cannot have the experience that they have on one of our properties. He added that online gambling “could create significant tax revenue and modernize the state’s gambling industry.”

A Horseshoe Casino representative agreed and doubted there would be job losses in live casinos due to legalization. However, Mark Stewart, executive vice president and general counsel of gaming and hospitality company The Cordish Cos., expressed his company’s opposition to the plans. Cordish operates Live! Casino, but doesn’t believe it’s the right time for legalization.

“Many of those pushing the state to introduce iGaming want to make money from it,” Stewart said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s capitalism. If iGaming passes, we are a gaming company and will do well financially. But despite our potential financial gain, we ask that you not engage in iGaming and that should speak volumes.”

New York is also currently considering legalizing online gambling.

Source link