Gov. Hogan Gives A Thumbs Up To Maryland Sports Betting

Written By Dann Stupp on October 20, 2020 - Last Updated on November 13, 2020

The DMV could be a competitive sportsbook market after the governor of a neighboring state endorsed Maryland sports betting.

In two weeks, Maryland voters can formally approve sports betting in the Old Line State.

If residents vote yes on Question 2, the state would also jump into a very competitive region.

Sports betting, which would benefit Maryland’s education efforts, is already underway in Washington, DC. Additionally, Virginia has legal sports betting, and the first Virginia sports betting apps will be online by early 2021.

Now, thanks to Maryland’s uber-popular governor, its own initiative, dubbed the “Sports Betting Measure”, just got a significant boost of momentum.

The road to Maryland sports betting

With Election Day quickly approaching, Maryland voters seem likely to vote in favor of sports betting on Nov. 3.

Maryland Question 2 asks:

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

The measure would need a simple majority to pass.

The Baltimore Sun, Maryland’s largest newspaper, recently recommended against the sports betting efforts. However, the editorial board’s opposition is primarily because of the unknowns of the bill.

If residents vote in favor of Question 2, the General Assembly won’t work out the details until next year. Those particulars include the number of licenses, the tax rate, betting restrictions, and similar considerations.

However, Maryland lawmakers intentionally simplified this year’s bill after the COVID-19 pandemic cut short the 2020 legislative session.

If voters approve Question 2, Maryland sportsbooks could be open sometime in 2021.

Governor to vote yes on Maryland Question 2

Sportsbook giants DraftKings and FanDuel pumped millions of dollars into campaign efforts for Question 2. After all, sportsbook operators have a lot to gain if Maryland legalizes sports betting.

Additionally, some of the state’s casinos, which could also open sportsbooks if voters legalize sports betting, have financially supported the campaign.

The bill has also garnered bipartisan support from within the state.

Now, Maryland Gov. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has formally endorsed the initiative:

”Question 2 provides a critical revenue source for public education without raising taxes on families and businesses. This initiative builds on the very successful ‘Hogan Lockbox,’ which puts casino revenues in a lockbox dedicated to education. We are already funding our K-12 schools at record levels, and this is another way to ensure that is the case for years to come.”

Hogan has widespread support in Maryland, thanks in part to his efforts in combatting the coronavirus.

The state of gambling in Maryland

Maryland legalized casinos with slot machines in 2010. It then permitted the expansion to table games in 2012.

The state now has six commercial casinos. They’re in Baltimore, Berlin, Flintstone, Hanover, Oxon Hill, and Perryville.

Maryland also has three horse tracks, and the Maryland Lottery also has an array of play options.

Sports betting could help Maryland remain competitive in the region. Currently, it’s the only Mid-Atlantic state without operational or soon-to-open sportsbooks. In addition to VA and DC, Maryland has competition from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. All of those states could lure away MD sports bettors.

In addition to keeping pace with those states, Maryland may need sports betting to keep the Washington Football Team within its borders. WFT owner Dan Snyder said he’s open to moving the team when the NFL team’s current lease at FedExField is up in 2017. However, any potential new landing spot would need legal sports betting, he said.

Photo by AP / Brian Witte
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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