Maryland Considers Legalizing Online Casino

A few online gaming analysts and Maryland lawmakers met at the Morgan State University Center for Data Analytics and Sports Gaming Research to deliberate on casino gaming in the state. iGaming’s proponents are confident that the state will allow it to aim at generating more tax revenue from casino operators.

Part of the panel discussion included reviewing the sports gambling law. The state hosted its first retail bookie in December 2021, and mobile bookmakers started operating in November 2022. Yet, the discussion’s participants spent the last 30 minutes deliberating on casino gaming.

Former Delegate Darryl Barnes and Delegate Edith Patterson were in the discussions, and they supported the online casino proposal in Maryland. Becca Giden, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming’s Director of Policy, also believed that the legislature will soon debate on legalizing iGaming.

Senator Ron Watson presented an iGaming constitutional amendment in this year’s legislation session. Unfortunately, most of the legislators rejected it, and reports state that the lawmakers will reintroduce it in the 2024 session.

The Maryland Lottery contracted The Innovation Group to research on iGaming’s feasibility in the state. The group will end its study before December, and the Lottery will submit it at the General Assembly. However, the state might have to hold a gaming ballot in 2024 to allow online casinos.

Barnes stated that lawmakers ought to take time to create an efficient online gaming system that suits the state. He hopes that sports gambling has taught them a few vital lessons.

What About Problem Gambling?

Lawmakers are considering problem gambling as they weigh in on legalizing online casinos. Yet, some of them claim that allowing them soon will cause problem gambling as mobile sports gambling is new in Maryland.

Shawn Fluharty, West Virginia’s lawmaker, is wary about problem gambling despite advocating for the legalization of online casinos and sports gambling. He says that it is necessary to form a controlled casino market to understand problem gambling better and get accurate data.

Fluharty stated that one needs data to research a certain issue. However, the legislature has to pass new gaming rules first.

Some of the panel discussion’s participants stated that casino operators might not encourage players to gamble responsibly. Nevertheless, GeoComply’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, John Pappas stated that responsible betting benefits players, casino operators, and the state’s gaming regulators.

He added that casinos often aim at increasing the number of responsible gamblers since a problem bettor doesn’t increase their revenue. Some of these gamblers spend a few minutes at a gaming site gambling before they lose interest in games or use all their money.

Players’ Protection and Revenue Generation

Revenue reports from states with both mobile sports gambling and iGaming indicate that casino games rake in more money than sports bets.

Fluharty stated that West Virginia’s sports betting industry will take three months to generate revenue, which Maryland can earn in a month from online casinos.

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