Is Sports Betting Legal in Maryland?
Sometimes decisions are made because there is no other option. There will come a day when the state of Maryland simply has to adopt legalized sports betting. That day might not be today or tomorrow, but with Delaware and New Jersey already on board, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania soon to follow, Maryland’s lost revenue trickling across the borders is going to force the hand of the governor and the state legislature.
Like a lot of states, though, it would take a special assembly to get sports betting on the table in 2018. Maryland’s representatives are spending the summer doing whatever they do, which means that the earliest date for more discourse on betting is 2019, unless a special session is called. That would require the governor to make a push and that appears very unlikely to happen.
Maryland already has casinos and race tracks. Pimlico Race Course is the home of the Preakness Stakes, so the Old Line State is no stranger to big betting events. Laurel Park also has its share of big horse racing events. That means that everything should be in place for sports betting rather quickly once the operators are given the okay from the legislators. Then, the voters will have their say.
It is a little bit surprising to see Maryland so far behind when Delaware, which has been offering parlay betting, and New Jersey, the state that challenged PASPA, are so close to home.
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The Maryland General Assembly will open legitimate discussions in 2019 per the Baltimore Sun. That means it won’t be available to voters until 2020.
The timeline could have been accelerated, but Governor Larry Hogan, who is running for re-election this year, has declined to call a special session per WMDT ABC 47.
In an op/ed piece for the Baltimore Sun, attorney Jeff Ifrah discussed why Maryland needs to focus on mobile wagering once the debate begins.
With horse tracks such a big deal in Maryland, Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun talked with the group that owns both Pimlico and Laurel Park to get their thoughts.
Maryland’s acceptance of legalized sports betting is inevitable. With adjacent states to the north and east all on board before Maryland, the voters will have a lot of incentives to sign off once the state government does its thing. This should almost certainly happen in 2020.