October 24, 2023 3 min read


Maryland Legislators Debate Online Casinos Amidst Problem Gambling Concerns

Mary Drexler, the program director of the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, voiced concerns about the swift growth of online and mobile gambling

In a recent meeting of Maryland’s Joint Audit and Evaluation Committee, legislators delved into the topic of problem gambling, specifically focusing on the potential impact of legalizing online casinos in the state. 

Experts Raise Alarms over Problem Gambling Surge

While retail sports betting was launched in Maryland in December 2021, mobile sports betting platforms were introduced a year later, raising concerns among experts and lawmakers about the surge in problem gambling cases.

Mary Drexler, the program director for the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, expressed her apprehension about the rapid expansion of online and mobile gambling, reported Maryland Matters. Drexler highlighted the growing number of calls, texts, and chats received by their helpline, indicating a demographic shift toward younger adults, especially minority males, seeking help for gambling-related issues.

Amidst these concerns, some state legislators have been advocating for the legalization of online casinos. Although legislation introduced during the 2023 session did not progress significantly, lawmakers agreed to commission a study on the feasibility of iCasinos in Maryland. This report, due by November 15, is expected to provide insights into the potential revenue that online casino gaming could generate for the state.

However, the prospect of introducing online casinos has raised worries about cannibalizing revenue from brick-and-mortar casinos, impacting the state’s Problem Gambling Fund. Currently, funding for problem gambling initiatives primarily comes from traditional table games and slot machines, with sports betting tax revenue not allocated for problem gambling research.

Senator Lam Proposes Funding Solution for Problem Gambling

Senator Clarence Lam voiced his concerns about the potential implications of online gaming, emphasizing the need for careful consideration. Despite these concerns, industry analysts like Matt Roob from Spectrum Gaming indicated that states with both online and physical casinos have not shown significant evidence of revenue cannibalization.

One possible solution discussed during the meeting was allocating a specific percentage of tax revenue from online casinos to the Problem Gambling Fund. This approach could potentially address concerns about funding shortages for problem gambling treatment and support services.

In July, a report exposed Maryland’s concerning struggle to support individuals grappling with gambling addiction, revealing that 8.6% of the state’s adults suffered from a gambling disorder in 2020, double the national average. While Maryland’s spending on safe gambling initiatives matches other states, it falls short, leading to a gap between affected individuals and available support. 

The state’s reliance on alternative revenue streams like expired prizes highlights the challenge. The potential introduction of iGaming exacerbates the situation, demanding urgent action, including enhanced treatment options, heightened awareness, and comprehensive collaboration, to address the alarming issue effectively.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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