Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan officially made sports betting legal in his state Tuesday by signing a bill into law that would allow for both online and retail sports betting.
According to The Action Network, the bill was passed with an “emergency” clause which allowed it to immediately take effect. Hogan’s signature makes Maryland the fifth state to legalize sports betting this year, following in the footsteps of South Dakota, Wyoming, New York and Arizona.
Maryland voters passed a ballot initiative last November that technically legalized sports betting. But since the pandemic shortened the state’s 2020 legislative session, the legislators only passed a bill that would allow voters to have the final say. By voting yes, the state legalized betting, but didn’t create any semblance of a regulatory framework.
Bills to create one started circulating in February before Hogan finished the process with his signature yesterday. The market is expected to launch this fall.
The bill will allow for as many 60 online sportsbooks, as well as retail locations at the state’s six casinos and professional sports stadiums. On Wednesday, the Baltimore Ravens announced a sports betting partnership with BetMGM.
Sports bars, racetracks, off-track betting facilities and the state fairgrounds are also eligible to apply for a license. There are 30 retail licenses up for grabs.
Sports betting companies will pay a 15% tax on their revenues. Those tax dollars will be used to help fund public education. It’s estimated that once the market matures, the industry should generate $17 million annually in taxes.