Maryland Pass Expansive Sports Betting Bill

Maryland lawmakers approved legislation this week that seems to be the most expansive of the existing US legal sports betting proposals, allowing up to 60 internet operators and 30 class B licences for retail sportsbooks. Casinos and professional sports arenas will account for the majority of the retail space.

Governor Larry Hogan must also sign the bill, and all indications are that he will do so before the state’s gaming regulators can draft rules of service. If all goes according to schedule, Maryland sports betting enthusiasts will be able to make their first bets on September 1, just in time for the start of the 2021 football season.

Importantly, the bill exempts new industry players from having to register in person to access online accounts.

Major retail and internet sportsbooks will be required to pay a 15 percent premium, while secondary retail licences will be charged a 13 percent levy on gross gaming revenue. Large retailers will now be expected to pay a $250,000 licence charge, which will be reduced to $50,000 for smaller retailers.

Big operators will be charged $50,000 a year, and minor operators will be charged $10,000. The application fee for online sportsbooks is $500,000, including a $100,000 recurring fee.

The Old Line State, with the ability to host about 60 online operators, will have the largest number of incumbents in the US and would likely draw some of the industry’s biggest stars. Surprisingly, such a free market could pique the interest of newcomers to the United States from other countries.