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US – Maryland could hold 2020 referendum on sports betting

By - 6 January 2020

Maryland’s state legislature opens for business on January 8 with a sports wagering proposal, Senate Bill No. 58, asking for a voter referendum in November on the expansion of gambling to allow the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to issue sports betting licenses.

Sports betting licenses would only be offered to Video Lottery Terminal operators or a license for thoroughbred racing or harness racing, meaning the state could have 11 sports betting operators through existing casinos and racetracks.

The main purpose of the legislation would be to fund education in Maryland but at just two pages, the current proposal doesn’t lay out much detail.

“It is the intent of the General Assembly that, if the voters of the State adopt a referendum that authorises sports wagering in the State, the State revenues generated by sports wagering be used for dedicated purposes including the funding of public education,” the proposal stated.

Maryland’s largest casino is MGM National Harbor, which opened in 2016. A 2017 study from Oxford Economics predicted that with mobile and online gaming and with tax set at 15 per cent, Maryland could generate $4.7bn.

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