Maryland voters decided to allow sports betting in the state with them passing Question 2 on the November 3rd ballot. Thanks to the move, Maryland is joining the states of Virginia and Washington D.C. that will also expand their gambling markets with the new form of gambling.
The ballot referendum asked local residents if Maryland authorities should make sports betting legal, specifying that the revenue generated by the new form of gambling would be mainly used for funding public education projects.
Betting on sports in the US was illegal under federal law but in 2018 the US Supreme Court ruled that the legislation banning the practice – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 – contradicted the Constitution. Since then, US states have been able to decide for themselves whether to authorize sports betting or not.
The existing Maryland law already permits gambling in casinos and horse tracks across the state but the proposed amendment would add sports betting to the legal gambling landscape. The measure has received almost unanimous cross-bench support in both the State House and Senate of the state, as well as from the Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan.
As mentioned above, Question 2 which was included in the November 3rd ballot made it clear that sports betting would be a critical source of revenue for public education projects without raising taxes on businesses and families across the state.
Sports Betting Will Provide Additional Funding for Public Education Projects
Craig Zucker, a Maryland State Senator, shared that the measure is expected to bring in millions to the state, with the money will fund public education in Maryland.
Mr. Zucker explained that, according to estimates, legal sports betting operations will bring an additional revenue worth $20 to $40 million to the state. He further noted that the coronavirus pandemic and the retail casino shutdown caused severe harm not only to the gambling sector but was also associated with massive $150-million Education Trust Fund losses. According to Senator Zucker, the addition of legal sports betting operations would not be able to fully fill the financial hole but it would still make a great difference.
The proposed measure associated with the legalization of sports betting in Maryland has faced some criticism. Campaigners against it do not believe that sports betting expansion would solve the state’s financial deficit issues. They say that the local legislature has a spending problem and officially allowing another form of gambling would not help them solve this issue.
The ballot question was up for a vote thanks to Article 19 in the state’s Constitution. Back in 2008, commercial gambling of slot machines was legalized by Article 19, with the measure also including some guidance on approving new forms of commercial gambling in Maryland. However, such new ventures, including sports betting, are required to be approved by local voters on a general election referendum.
As CasinoGamesPro already reported, the latest campaign finance reports showed that gambling operators have spent a massive amount of money as part of their efforts to persuade Maryland residents to vote in favor of the proposed sports betting expansion.