FanDuel, DraftKings Funding Campaign For Maryland Sports Betting

Posted on September 15, 2020

A new ad campaign that stresses the educational funding possible by sports betting in Maryland is at least partially funded by FanDuel and DraftKings.

FanDuel and DraftKings sent a combined $750,000 to Vote Yes on Question 2 between June 26 to Aug. 18, as first reported by the Baltimore Sun. Legal Sports Report confirmed the DraftKings expenditure via the acampaign finance filing, which you can see here.

Handcuffed by limitations from the coronavirus pandemic, Maryland did not pass a full sports betting bill this year. Instead, it puts legalization in the hands of citizens this November through a referendum.

Should sports betting in Maryland be approved, legislators will focus on the details next year.

Campaign stresses education benefit from Maryland sports betting

Even though the enabling sports betting legislation hasn’t been crafted yet, Vote Yes on Question 2 is promising big bucks for the state’s education department. Here’s an ad that dropped yesterday:

Sports betting in Maryland could raise as much as $40 million in annual tax revenue, according to Oxford Economics. The majority, or potentially all, of that will be earmarked for education.

It’s also the focus of the referendum text:

Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and event betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?

The campaign’s website also stresses that Maryland is losing out on tax dollars all of its border jurisdictions are getting. A map on the website shows only Maryland without legal sports wagering in the region, flanked by Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, DC.

What could Maryland sports betting look like?

It’s hard to sell voters on legalizing something without a framework in place. Luckily, the 2019 session likely outlined what the sports betting law will look like in Maryland.

Before S 4 was stripped into a referendum bill, it called for all six of the state’s casinos and two racetrack licenses. The Washington Football Team, which plays in Maryland, also showed interested in a license.

The licensing fee was a bit on the high side at $1.5 million to $2.5 million depending on how many slot machines a casino has. Sports betting revenue would have been taxed at 20%.

Multiple skins or one?

One of the biggest conversations from the 2019 session centered on how many skins should be allowed per license.

Sportsbook operators like DraftKings Sportsbook called for multiple skins per license to help maximize state revenue.

That’s no surprise since some of the skins will already be decided based on who is operating the casino:

  • BetAmerica through Ocean Downs
  • BetMGM through MGM National Harbor
  • FanDuel Sportsbook through Live! based on a Dec. 2019 press release
  • William Hill through Horseshoe Baltimore

Barstool Sportsbook could also potentially be added to that list through Hollywood Perryville, which is owned and operated by Gaming & Leisure Properties. GLPI is a real estate investment trust that has a close relationship with Penn National Gaming.

That means just three licenses could be up for grabs: the ones for Golden Entertainment‘s Rocky Gap and the horse racing licenses through Stronach and the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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