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A bill to legalise iGaming was not passed by lawmakers in Maryland before the end of the state’s 2024 legislative session yesterday (8 April).

iGaming bill background

HB 1319, sponsored by Democrat state delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, would have allowed for up to 30 licensees to operate online casino games in Maryland had it been approved.

Licences, costing $1m for a five-year term, would have been made available to the state’s existing land-based casino operators, racetrack and video lottery terminal operators, and others through a competitive tender process.

Tax rates would have been set at a minimum of 55% for most online casino games with the exception of live dealer games, which would be taxed at a rate of 20%.

The bill was passed by lawmakers in Maryland’s lower chamber, with 92 votes in favour and 43 against, before proceeding to the senate last month.

There, it had just a few weeks to be approved by senators before the end of this year’s legislative session yesterday.

After being referred to the Budget and Taxation Committee, however, the bill failed to progress any further.

Legislation faced opposition

Efforts to legalise iGaming in Maryland have faced significant opposition since their introduction, despite the state being home to a regulated online sports betting and land-based casino industry.

Several figures in the casino sector were reported as being opposed to the legalisation of iGaming due to fears around cannibalisation and job losses.

Meanwhile, a poll commissioned by iGaming opponents the Maryland Retailers Alliance found 64% of respondents were opposed to online casino gambling, while just 23% said they were in favour and 13% said they were not sure.

Online gambling expansion stalled

Maryland was previously considered one of the states that was most likely to offer a chance of iGaming expansion this year.

A bill to legalise iGaming in New York, introduced in January by state senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., is not considered likely to make it into law this year.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s online sports betting bill failed to pass the state’s House of Representatives before the end of this legislative session, dashing hopes for legalisation to be put to a vote among the state’s public on November’s ballot.

Last week, an attempt to legalise sports betting in Minnesota was frustrated when the state’s Racing Commission instead opted to legalise historical horse racing (HHR) machines at Minnesota’s two racetracks.

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