Senator Ron Watson’s bill to bring the best online casinos in front of Maryland voters fell short during the state’s 2023 legislative session. Watson was, however, able to generate interest among legislators in what iGaming expansion in Maryland might look like.
The state’s FY 2024 budget requires the Maryland Lottery to submit a report on iGaming to the General Assembly. Early work has begun on the study, which needs to be submitted to the legislature by Nov. 15. The purpose of the study is to better understand the potential impact on Marylanders if the state legalizes online casino gaming.
Last week, the lottery shared that it had created a request for proposal (RFP) for a third party to conduct the study. The RFP was issued on June 2, and the lottery answered a few questions from prospective applicants on June 14.
Once the lottery settles on a third party to handle the study, the contracted entity will focus its research on a few key areas, such as:
- estimated iGaming market size in Maryland
- potential economic impact to the state’s physical casino locations
- potential impact to the state’s lottery system
- results from other states with legal iGaming
- iGaming’s potential impact on problem gambling
Expect either Sen. Watson or another Maryland legislator to bring up legalizing iCasino in the 2024 legislative session. Watson’s hope is to let Maryland voters decide if they want online casino gaming during the 2024 election.
“Once we’ve got [the study], we’ll have what we think is the bare bones … and then we can start taking the original bill that I drafted, add a little more meat to it,” Watson told US Bets in March. “I look forward to reintroducing it next session.”
Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are the U.S. states that allow online casino gambling. Rhode Island will soon join those, with recently passed legislation going into effect on March 1, 2024. Maryland has retail casinos, but not online casino gaming.
Maryland also allows for legal sports betting in physical locations like casinos and stadiums, as well as online. There are 10 mobile sportsbooks live in Maryland, including major national brands that also have online casino offerings, such as BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel.
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