Maryland and Legal Sports Betting?

The latest state to join the list of those who are set to legalize sports betting and challenge the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is Maryland according to reports released last week. The State of Maryland is drafting a bill to propose regulation of sports betting which generates huge revenue in the USA, most of which unfortunately goes through illegal channels, owing to the fact that PASPA holds a ban on any kind of sports betting. Maryland’s gambling industry is on the rise and they are trying to use this momentum and give it an additional boost by introducing licensed sports betting activities within the state.

The draft bill introduced under the name H 989 aims to prepare the state for the possible opportunity to exploit legal sports betting by offering the chance to state’s six casinos and three racetracks to apply for sports betting license. The new bill proposes the formation of a special expert task force that would analyze sports betting in the state and create an implementation study. Furthermore, when implemented the overall sports betting activity would be overseen by State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission. The bill would have to gain the approval and signature of the governor as well as the approval of wider public through a voters’ referendum.

The State of Maryland uses the time to propose this bill when it has recorded a huge increase in the revenue generated by gambling, partly thanks to the opening of the new casino MGM National Harbor and due to the implementation of recently legalized Daily Fantasy Sports. The logical next step is to exploit the vast market of sports betting which remains unregulated due to the ban imposed by PASPA.

Maryland is not the only state that is mulling over the idea of challenging the federal law. New Jersey has been battling to repeal PASPA for some time now. In fact New Jersey is currently in the appeal process before the US Supreme Court to repeal or amend the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 which allows sports betting only in certain states, which is, according to New Jersey appeal, unconstitutional.

Upon the adoption of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act there were several states that were conducting sports betting and sports lotteries (Oregon, Delaware, Montana and Nevada). These states were exempt from the newly-introduced law and the situation has remained the same to date. Interestingly, back at 1992, the state gave a period of one year to New Jersey to use the window to enter the list of exempt states, however they failed to grab this opportunity, which they now bitterly regret and it makes them even more resolute to persist in their current battle. So far they have had no success but recently there has been a hint of hope in January this year when the US Supreme Court decided to delay the decision until Solicitor General files a brief on the case. Certainly the attempts of other states such as Maryland will give and additional boost to the case and perhaps the federal ban will be lifted in the future.

Sports betting is a huge market that remains unexploited due to the federal ban. Reportedly over $100 billion is generated annually through sports betting channels which are unregulated. With legal regulations the revenue could be directed to the state budget and the bettors would have a secure and protected system overseen and controlled by the states.

For more information on sports betting and online sportsbooks, see the sportsbook portals recommended here in our gambling directory. These websites are great resources for anything and everything sports betting related. We hope Maryland gets this bill approved which could open the door for many other states which would like to allow sports betting.