The state of Maryland has adopted many forms of legal domestic gambling in recent years. From online, mobile, and in-person sports betting to casinos with table games, slots, and other popular favorites, MD offers a virtual plethora of gambling options to residents and visitors who are 21 and older.
Some MD lawmakers are already considering the introduction of a gambling bill in January that will include provisions for online poker, slots, roulette, and blackjack. Online lottery tickets are also up for consideration, something that is already approved in several states that aren’t terribly amenable to gambling of any kind (we’re looking at you, Alabama).
The reason for this newfound interest in online Maryland gambling is the same as always. Revenue. Upwards of $40 million annually could be collected by the state of MD, according to recent estimates.
“Here in the state of Maryland, we’re already projecting a $400 million deficit. We need additional revenues, and we have a lot of bills to pay with respect to our educational goals.”
Maryland Senator Ron Watson – Bill Sponsor
The online component’s impact on local casinos is also being studied. However, the results should be obvious. When gamblers do not need to leave the house to bet on sports or play casino games, they often don’t.
Then there is poker. Most players prefer to belly up to the felt and lay their ante on the table in person. Because of the direct competition between poker players, online options have always been a tough sell.
A few neighboring states already have online gambling in place. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware are within driving distance of MD, and gamblers merely need to cross into their territory to partake in legal online gambling.
Another motivator of Maryland politicians is the money being spent online at offshore gambling sites. These dollars travel out of the state and country with no benefit to local tax collectors.
Legislators in the Free State will not have the final say regarding online casino gambling, as any expansion to current norms will require voter approval. That means even if a gambling bill is signed by the Governor, constituents in Maryland will need to certify it at the ballot box.
A simple majority will be required of MD voters in order to legalize domestic online casinos. Until then, area players can utilize offshore gambling sites to get their web-based casino fix.
Source: Maryland Matters