Maryland iGaming Bill Falls Short, At Least For 2023

Maryland iGaming Bill Falls Short, At Least For 2023
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Maryland state lawmakers are observing Sine Die today, probably with some celebration.

At midnight, the 2023 state legislature closes for the year, and with it some substantial lawmaking has been addressed, including gun issues, recreational cannabis, and reproductive rights.

However, the suggestion for Maryland online casino play did not advance very far. Still, the fact that such a bill was even introduced may be considered, by some, a measure of progress.

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Why This Setback Still Matters

The proposal, SB 267, if it had been passed, would have set the stage for a referendum on expanding gambling in the state to include online slots and table games, a further step beyond Maryland sports betting, which went live last year.

When the bill failed to get through the Crossover Day hurdle in March – the deadline when bills normally must pass one chamber so they can be considered in the other chamber – the online casino bill’s prospects appeared bleak for 2023. And that turned out to be case. 

However, it really doesn’t matter a great deal because the statewide referendum, in which such a ballot question will be decided by voters, won’t be held until November 2024. So, if online casino has a chance in Maryland, next year’s legislative session is far more important.

Bottom line: If similar legislation is passed by the General Assembly in 2024, and is signed by Gov. Wes Moore, and voters approve it in the November 2024 election, online casino play won’t be available until at least 2025.

The proposal that was introduced this year by state Sen. Ron Watson and state Sen. Nancy King would have allowed for online casino play with a tax rate of 15%. It did accomplish putting the idea on the radar of other legislators.

As we monitor the state's progress towards online casino, do keep in mind BetMaryland is already home to the best Maryland sports betting apps.

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Where Maryland Stands Now

Maryland already has six land-based commercial casinos; retail and online sports betting; horse racing including OTBs; bingo, and the lottery.

So far, only six states have online casino gambling, also known as iGaming and iCasino. Those six are: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Delaware, and West Virginia. Nevada has internet poker but not the typical casino games, such as slots and house-banked table games. 

In some states where iGaming has been legalized, it has been a substantial cash generator for both operators and state tax coffers. Meanwhile, objections have largely come from anti-gambling and responsible gaming parties who contend that such gaming increases risks of addiction and dysfunctional gambling.

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Author

A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the World Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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