Report Argues Maryland iGaming Would Help, Not Hurt, Existing Casinos

Report Argues Maryland iGaming Would Help, Not Hurt, Existing Casinos
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

A bill to let voters decide whether to legalize Maryland online casinos, also known as iGaming, faces a steep obstacle in the Senate. However, internet gaming supporters hope a report released Thursday will smooth the road in that chamber.

That report, published by Analysis Group and sponsored by the Sports Betting Alliance, contends Maryland and other states considering iGaming stand to benefit from the millions in tax dollars Maryland casino apps would generate. It’s the latest effort seeking to dispel opponents’ fears that legalizing online casinos would undermine the state’s brick-and-mortar gaming facilities.

“The study projects potential revenues in the Projection States using the changes observed in the iGaming States in combination with each iGaming and Projection State’s unique characteristics,” authors Mickey A. Ferri and Laura O’Laughlin wrote in the executive summary.

The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill last Saturday that would permit a referendum on this year’s ballot asking voters to legalize iGaming. If passed, up to 30 licenses would be available, and the state would tax adjusted revenues at 55% for online slots and 20% for live-dealer table games. Operators would be able to deduct some promotional spending for the first five years.

Still, the reaction of Senate leaders to the proposal was cool. Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore City, told reporters earlier this week that Maryland iGaming is “a hard no” within the chamber. House leaders, though, are hopeful to win the Senate over as budget discussions continue.

The Maryland General Assembly is set to adjourn on April 8.

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Survey: 14% of Marylanders Participate in iGaming Already

According to the Analysis Group study, the compound annual growth rate for brick-and-mortar casinos improved after iGaming was introduced in four of the six states where it is allowed. Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia saw an average loss of 2.2% before online casinos were approved. The four that improved were New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. The compound growth rate rose by two percentage points after the apps became available.

The authors give five reasons for why land-based casinos saw growth, including: 

  • “iGaming can introduce people to the entertainment value of gaming.”
  • The online apps spur additional economic activity across the board.
  • In-person casinos offer amenities and entertainment options not available through iGaming apps.
  • The two products “cater to different audiences.”
  • Brick-and-mortar casinos and iGaming “can be viewed as two different products.”

Those findings were generated after surveying 2,389 gaming patrons across 11 states – the six current iGaming states, Maryland, Illinois, Louisiana, New York and Virginia. The survey asked respondents if they had participated in iGaming, with 14.4% of those from Maryland saying they had.

Nearly 29% of those individuals from Maryland say they went to brick-and-mortar casinos more often after playing iGaming, while almost 23% said they went less. Roughly 44% said the number of times they went to a land-based casino stayed the same.

While most of Maryland’s gaming industry has endorsed iGaming, it has been opposed by casino workers and two of the state’s six land-based casinos. Those opponents, along with some members of the business community, have argued that legalizing online apps will keep people away from their establishments, leading to losses in revenues and jobs.

For more on the attempts to legalize iGaming and for Maryland sports betting coverage, stay close to



Steve Bittenbender

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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