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Maryland Online Gambling Bill Gathers Pace

James Chittick

A proposal calling for the legalization of Maryland online gambling has picked up pace but faces opposition from those concerned about its impact.

While sports betting is legal in 38 states, only a handful offer online gambling. As such activities use the internet, many players already play slots, live dealer and other iGaming titles online using operators outside the jurisdiction of the US.

Due to this, many state lawmakers are proposing legalizing and regulating iGaming.

One such bill is gaining traction in Maryland. Introduced by Rep. Vanessa Atterbeary, HB 1319 passed the state House earlier this month with a 92-43 vote.

Now with the Budget and Tax Committee, the bill is seeking a further green light.

But despite making progress, the bill must pass by April 8 to make the November ballot. This is not uncommon but means the future of HB 1319 remains uncertain.

The bill will seek support from the Senate, but many opponents within have voiced concerns about the impact of iGaming.

Atterbeary argues that online gambling would generate $200 million in taxes for the state each year. Furthermore, the bill aims to combat illegal online gambling.

At the same time, she confirmed that a regulated iGaming market would help to protect consumers from problem gambling.

Maryland Online Gambling Requires Regulation

In a debate on Tuesday, Rep. Atterbeary discussed the benefits of HB 1319 and addressed the concerns raised. Opponents have warned iGaming can lead to a rise in problem gambling and addiction, harming Maryland residents.

They also argued iGaming may have a detrimental effect on the retail betting sector, such as casinos.

But addressing those concerns, Rep. Atterbeary argued that state residents already engage in online activities, with this bill merely seeking to regulate the market.

She said: “You have folks going on their phones or their computers and doing iGaming with somebody in Curaçao or somewhere far away, not here in the state of Maryland.”

Atterbeary then added that the bill would allocate $10m for employees of land-based gambling venues, and that 1% of tax revenue from iGaming will be directed towards funding responsible gambling and treating problem gambling.

James Chittick
James Chittick