Senator Watson has introduced a bill in Maryland that would authorize a referendum in the November general election. The bill, known as SB 603, would allow six state casinos and video lottery terminal operators to offer online casino gaming. Each casino would be allowed to partner with two operators, such as FanDuel or BetMGM, and operators would have to pay a $1 million license fee and a 47% gross revenue tax.

The bill would also provide a significant financial boost to the state, with 1% of the operator taxes going to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA), another 1% to the state’s Problem Gambling Fund, and the remaining 45% to educational funding via the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund.

However, the bill would require the passing of SB 565, which would take the online casino question to the voters. The bill faces concerns about cannibalization, but a study commissioned by the MLGCA found that the potential impact on existing casinos and VLT operators in Maryland would be minimal.

The legislation also includes provisions for live dealer studios, which would create more job opportunities for Maryland residents. Gaming industry insiders believe that Maryland, along with New York, Illinois, and Louisiana, are the most likely states to approve online casino gaming in 2024.

Currently, only six states have legalized online casino gaming, and Maryland may be the next to join them. The bill will be heard by the Senate on February 28, and if passed, it could have a significant impact on the state’s gaming industry.

The bill, if passed, would bring significant revenue to the state and create new job opportunities for residents. Additionally, it could pave the way for other states to follow suit and legalize online casino gaming.

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