While the world of sports and the world of large has been basically ordered to stand still, some good news is coming out of The Old Line State. In literally the final moments of the Maryland legislative session of 2020, lawmakers allowed a sports bill to move forward.
The next step for the bill would be to have it on the ballot in November. The voters of the state will decide if they want sports betting to be legal and regulated.
According to public meetings that were held in Maryland last year, the overwhelming consensus is that voters want legalized sports betting. The sports betting bill is known as SB 4, which was passed this week with a majority vote of 129 to 3 and will cross the desk of Governor Larry Hogan, who has indicated he’s in favor of sports betting and is expected to sign the bill next week.
The bill will then be a state referendum in November, leaving the decision in the voter’s hands. Although proponents of the bill were not sure what the lawmakers would do, they were hoping for the best.
Necessity To Pass The Bill
Proponents of sports betting were left on the edge of their seats to literally the final moments of the legislature taking the vote. Due to the escalating coronavirus outbreak, the Maryland legislative session for 2020 was shortened by more than three weeks.
Lawmakers were in a desperate time crunch to get needed bills voted on and passed through. A source with knowledge of the sports betting vote said, “This particular bill can bring in much-needed revenue to the state.”
The source went on, “Before this natural disaster, Maryland’s public school system was in desperate need of funds; now every state is going to look for revenue.”
Sports betting has been widely successful in every state it was able to launch prior to March of 2020. The source added, “We will welcome the added revenue when we are finally able to launch sports betting.”
A Few Changes To The Bill
The Maryland House did make a few changes to the bill on Tuesday night before the final vote was taken. The final vote was taken by the Maryland Senate on Wednesday, during the last hour of the session.
A voting member said, “Even if someone really wasn’t in favor of it, the Governor and other members, said ‘There is no choice now, we will need that money.'”
The bill in its current format will allow sports betting in casinos, racetracks, and even sports leagues to obtain sports betting licenses. Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, has been a very outspoken proponent of sports betting and had been meeting with Maryland lawmakers earlier this year.
Snyder laid out his position in several meetings and wants to have sports betting capability in his new stadium currently being built. The newly fashioned bill will allow a more diverse type of business the ability to apply for licenses. The bill also allows sports betting to be done online.