The House of Delegates took a small step towards creating the Maryland sports betting framework. The House Ways and Means Committee heard from supporters and critics of sports betting, including representatives from the State Fair, lobbyists for sports betting firms, problem gambling advocates, and more.
HB 940 didn't go into vote Thursday. However, it looks like it will advance to the floor in the current session, which will end on April 12. According to pay per head reports, both chambers discussed creating the legal sports betting framework last year. However, the pandemic put the efforts to a stop.
Lawmakers put the question on the ballot and will figure out the details if it passes the referendum. As a result, voters approved legal sports betting. Now the ball is once again in the hands of the lawmakers.
During the hearing, lawmakers discussed three points: increasing the number of licenses for online sportsbooks, ensuring participation of minority-owned sportsbooks, and ensuring Maryland keeps up with neighbors.
According to bookie pay per head sources, monitories have been shut out of the state's gaming industry. Thus, lawmakers want to include provisions to ensure minorities have equal opportunities.
Bet Sports Online learned that the committee didn't take a vote. However, they received valuable testimonies to address the concerns of various stakeholders. Also, the bill lacks a companion bill in the Senate. They expect it to come up after a workgroup agrees on how to move forward.
The bill would allow eight Class A retail sportsbook licenses for six casinos and racetracks in the state. It will also enable five Class B licenses for various locations at least ten miles away from Class A sportsbooks.
The lawmakers agreed to provide ten mobile licenses. Also, they don't require online operators to partner with a retail sportsbook.