Maryland Exploring Online Casino Games

There are still just six states that have legalized online casino games, but that number is expected to increase at some point in the near future. A couple of states have already ruled out new iGaming legislation, but it looks as if things are getting more serious in Maryland. 

Maryland is one state that is expected to take a hard look at online casinos in 2024, and Senator Ron Watson is leading the charge. An official bill has not yet been introduced, but Watson has maintained that his bill will include language to legalize multistate poker. 

This will not be the first time that a new iGaming bill emerged in Maryland as Watson introduced a bill in 2023 as well. That bill was shut down in committee, but it was clear that the public was in support of that bill, putting pressure on the lawmakers to try again this year. 

There are going to be some major concerns surrounding legalizing a new iGaming option, but the voters in the state aren’t concerned. Virginia is set to open up new in-person casinos as well, and that could hurt the gaming industry in Maryland. 

Maryland voters have been quick to support new gaming measures, as it typically leads to more revenue for the state. That could end up becoming the deciding factor again this year, as a new online casino bill would have to be approved in November. 

There are still some big hurdles to clear, but things are expected to heat up in a big way moving forward. 

Concerns Exist

Even though there wasn’t an online casino bill that made it to the Senate floor in 2023, that chamber did task the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission with studying this industry. Based on the results of that study, in-person casino gaming could be impacted in a negative way if online casinos were able to launch. 

That study showed that commercial casinos could see a decrease in revenue of up to 10% annually, and that is something that lawmakers are simply not comfortable with. Not only could some of the casino properties see a loss in revenue, but there are also concerns about the potential of job losses. 

Other states have had similar studies in advance of an online casino bill, but those states did not see an impact on commercial casinos. This could end up coming up for debate in the Senate, but it’s going to take some time to get to that point. 

Features of the Bill

It is going to take some time before all of the details of an official bill get nailed down, but it is expected to be similar to the one introduced in 2023. This bill would intend to raise tax revenue for the state, and online casino revenue would be taxed at a rate of 46.5%. 

It is also expected that Maryland would be joining the Multi-State iGaming Agreement if this bill passed, and that would allow for some intrastate poker options. Online poker tournaments are a big part of the iGaming experience, and it’s the best way to cash in on activity.

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