Maryland Moves iGaming Bill Forward

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The state of Maryland is continuing to work on legalizing new forms of iGaming, and on online casino bill just took a massive step. The state House of Delegates agreed to pass a bill that could potentially unlock new iGaming options in the state. 

House Bill 1319 was the bill on record during the most recent meeting, and it got through pretty easily when the final vote was held. This bill was first introduced last month, and lawmakers have been working hard to try to get it pushed ahead. 

Even though the House of Delegates agreed to move the bill forward, there isn’t a ton of optimism that a deal will ultimately get done. This was the final weekend in which bills could be passed in order to head to the other chamber. 

It will now be up to the Senate to decide what to make of this legislation, and it has already been sent to a committee. Things are going to have to move quickly to get past the April 8th deadline, and the Budget and Taxation Committee will be the first stop. 

There was a point in which it looked like Maryland was a lock to legalize online casino gambling, but that’s no longer the case. 

Senate Already Said No

Things don’t look very optimistic in Maryland due to the fact that the Senate has already voted one iGaming bill down earlier this year. Senate Bill 603 was aiming to establish a very simple iGaming industry by allowing the casinos in the state to apply for an online skin.

That bill was going to charge a licensing fee of $1 million, and the tax rate would have been set at 47%. Members of the House believe that iGaming is needed in order to decrease the budget deficit that the state is facing. 

Senators in Maryland have agreed that a plan is needed to bring in more revenue, but they have not been willing to do it through iGaming. 

A Complicated Bill

Another reason that there isn’t a ton of optimism is the fact that this House Bill has become extremely complicated for most in the state to understand. There were a number of amendments added to the bill, and it would create a licensing process that doesn’t favor the operators. 

There would be up to 30 online casino licenses available if this bill passes, and each casino could apply for three online skins. There would then be 12 online skins up for grabs, and that is where things get tricky. 

The tax rate in this bill is also extremely high, as it proposes a 55% tax on all online slot revenue that is generated. Online casinos would also be forced to pay a tax of 20% on the revenue from table games. 

The Senate Committee could add some additional amendments to the bill, but there isn’t a ton of time for debate. This bill would have to be approved by early April in order to get to the governor’s desk for signature.

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