A new bill in Maryland would allow the state’s six casinos to have sports books should the federal government end its controversial prohibition on sports betting.
As efforts are underway on Capitol Hill to do just that, Maryland’s H 989 would prepare the state ahead of time to give its casinos, as well as racetracks, the opportunity to apply for a sports betting license. According to the bill, the legislation would not only have to be signed by the governor, but it would also need approval from voters.
The legislation would also establish a “task force” to study sports betting, which, according to the casino industry, is a $150 billion market. Nearly all of that is done through illicit channels, the industry says, with only a small portion of the amount bet (about $5 billion) coming legally through Nevada.
The Silver State was grandfathered in under the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to allow Las Vegas casinos to have traditional sports wagering.
New Jersey has been at the forefront of challenging the constitutionality of PASPA, even though it did have a chance to be grandfathered in like Nevada. The Garden State is hoping that either federal legislation or the U.S. Supreme Court will end its years-long saga to get sports books in Atlantic City.
It’s assumed that every one of the 40 U.S. states with a casino industry would take a look at sports betting should PASPA be defeated, according to the American Gaming Association.
Maryland’s move comes at a time when its gambling market is at record levels. Thanks to MGM National Harbor opening late last year, Maryland casinos won a combined $126.2 million from all their games in January, a 42.8 percent increase from the $88.4 million won in January 2016.