Maryland Is Likely to Pass An Online Casino Bill

Maryland is one of the U.S. states that recently legalized online sports gambling. Still, it is considering allowing online casino gaming. Senators Nancy King and Ron Watson introduced a casino bill last week.

Details About the iGaming Bill

The two lawmakers’ move is the first attempt in Maryland to allow online casino games. But, it won’t be a smooth process as they might face many obstacles. The regulation would allow online games that Hollywood Casino, Rocky Gap Casino Resort, Ocean Downs, Live! Casino and Hotel, Horseshoe Casino, and MGM National Harbor, the state’s video lottery operators.

Each operator began accepting retail sports bets in late 2021 and online wagers in 2022. Senator Watson stated that some people have started discovering the sports betting sector’s revenue potential. Besides, casinos boost the state’s economy and would not earn money if another pandemic occurred, and Maryland suspended all sports.

Even so, introducing online gaming will create an extra revenue stream that the state can use to fund its education system. Watson added that he liaised with Maryland’s Attorney General and learned that online casinos are part of expanding gaming in the state.

Its constitution needs voters to approve any commercial betting expansion. The expansion proposal would be added to the November 2024 ballot if two-thirds of the lawmakers support it.

The online casino proposed regulation covers 10 pages. Some of its details include a 15 percent online casino revenue tax, a starting $500,000 license fee for five years, and a license renewal fee. It will give the State Lottery and Gaming Commission the mandate to check online casinos, permit operators to exclude promotional and free play credits from their revenue.

Watson said that he created this new design after reviewing other states to form a unique framework for the bill. But, they can modify it for two years.

Does The Bill Promote Online Poker?

Watson’s main aim in presenting the constitutional amendment to the Maryland government is to allow online poker. Yet, he doesn’t mention it directly. Instead, he adds it to the “casino-style games” category.

The lawmaker added that he has aspired to introduce a new iGaming bill since 2019 when he joined the legislature as Maryland’s representative. Even so, he wanted to add multi-jurisdictional compacts to form a local online poker market with high liquidity.

Watson played on PokerStars and PartyPoker with pros like Annie Duke, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Hellmuth, who taught him vital lessons. He loves casinos despite being a regular poker player as he took part in small World Series of Poker (WSOP) events in the past.

Some of the Senator’s friends play online on PokerStars’ app whether they accept payouts in advance. They later transact using Venmo or PayPal.

The bill will curb problem gambling in Maryland as it advocates each gaming operator to add a problem betting hotline on their website, the State Lottery, and Gaming Commission to update the governor on each September 1 on internet gaming’s impact on betting addiction. Even so, Watson isn’t certain about the legislature passing the bill this year as the Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation is reviewing it now.

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