Maryland Sports Betting Passes House With More Licenses

Posted on March 10, 2021 - Last Updated on June 8, 2021
Posted By on March 10, 2021
Last Updated on June 8, 2021

The Maryland House Ways and Means Committee clearly heard the calls for additional sports betting licenses from hopeful operators.

After an initial hearing on HB 940 made it clear many local businesses wanted in on sports betting in Maryland, the bill passed the House with amendments adding more licenses by a 130-9 vote Thursday morning.

There are now 37 proposed sports betting licenses available under the legislation from 23 previously:

  • 12 Class A licenses for specific establishments.
  • 10 Class B licenses for local businesses, available by competitive bid.
  • 15 mobile betting licenses, also available by competitive bid.

Breakdown of Maryland sports betting licenses

Every license category received additional licenses in the amended bill.

The additional four licenses in the Class A category now include the state’s three professional sports stadiums and Riverboat on the Potomac, which operates off-track horse betting.

Class B saw five additional licenses added for competitive bidding among non-gaming entities in Maryland. Another five mobile licenses were added as well since there were concerns only two might be left from Class A licensees.

When asked on the House floor why those specific numbers, House Ways and Means Chair Anne Kaiser said there wasn’t an exact science, but she’s open to adding more if they are eventually needed:

“There was agreement that the original numbers that we gave were possibly too small to serve our policy needs of both making money and providing opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses. There’s always also the concern of having too many and there could be an issue with oversaturation.

“But as you and I both know, the second week of January next year, we’re back here on the second Wednesday of the year. If we all find the need next year or the year after to increase locations, we’d certainly be able to.”

Stadiums limited on sportsbook operations

MLB‘s Baltimore Orioles, and the NFL‘s Baltimore Ravens and Washington Football Team can have Class A licenses. They cannot, however, operate a sportsbook year-round.

Those stadiums can only accept sports bets in ticketed areas only. That’s different than the policies for DC sports betting next door, where anyone can bet at a stadium sportsbook.

That limits sports betting at Maryland stadiums to only game days and when an event will have more than 10,000 people.

Revenue changes in MD sports betting proposal

There are also a couple of new minor financial details in HB 940.

Application and license fees both remain as introduced for all three license categories. The renewal for those five-year licenses was to be 1% of the sportsbooks’ average gaming revenue over those five years.

That renewal fee is now 1% of average revenue for the last three years of the license.

Operators will also be allowed to deduct promotional spending and excise taxes from their taxed revenue.

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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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