Companies in Maryland Want a Piece of the Betting Pie

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Maryland companies, seeking a betting license, attended the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee’s public hearing and turned it into an audition.

Sports Betting in Maryland Will Happen This Year No Matter What

On Thursday, a sports betting bill became the topic of a public hearing session in the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee in Maryland.

Last November, voters approved a referendum to legalize sports betting in Maryland. The bill on regulation of gaming and sports wagering, HB 940, which proposes online and retail sports betting in Maryland, was approved with 129-10 on March 11. House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, who sponsored the bill, said it is the only sports betting legislation pending in the General Assembly.

According to House Majority Leader Eric G. Luedtke, the measure would inspire the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to address “ownership disparities” in the gaming industry “through the competitive bidding process.”

Head of the Senate workgroup and sponsor of a 2020 betting bill, Sen. Craig J. Zucker, said that they are going to get sports betting done this year no matter what. It is legal, and it is what half of the country is doing.

Minority Companies Want More Mobile Licenses

Black and female-owned companies’ representatives dominated the hearing. They want legislatures to give more mobile app-based licenses and give more opportunities to minority companies.

Some who testified were not happy with the number of mobile licenses. CEO of Virginia Beach-based August Holding Corp., Shane M. August, stated that there are no minority-owned or women-owned sports betting companies on the market. He said that lawmakers create sports betting programs that include practices that favor big companies and conglomerates.

According to Jones, the legislation would generate more funding for education and give more opportunities for minority companies.

Some Companies Have Unrealistic Expectations of the Industry

There will be 15 mobile licenses competitively bid and granted to companies that want to offer online sports betting. Now many companies want a piece of the pie.

Besides the 15 mobile betting licenses, the bill includes sports betting licenses for 6 casinos in Maryland and the teams playing in professional sports stadiums.

Laurel Park, the most visited race track in the state, the State Fairgrounds in Timonium, and the Riverboat on the Potomac will also obtain licenses. Other companies such as restaurants, sports bars, racing venues, and others could compete for the 10 more licenses.

After the session, Senate Majority Leader Nancy J. King stated that companies have “unrealistic expectations” of gaming. She said that many people think it is a quick way to become rich, but that’s not going to happen.

The state would tax “Class A” licenses for Laurel Park, casinos, and stadiums, at 15%. A mobile license would receive a tax of 15% for the first $5 million and receive a tax of 17.5% after that.

Some of the money from the revenue would go for problem gambling, and most of it would go for funding public education through the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund.

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