As the Maryland online sports betting market continues to grow, there is talk about if and when online casino games will be legalized in the state. If legalization does happen, it will allow Maryland residents to play slots and table games like blackjack and roulette online.
There seems to be an appetite for online gambling in the state. There are now 12 mobile sportsbooks in operation in a legal online sports betting industry that only launched in November 2022. The industry is governed by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and has progressed well so far, with the online sportsbooks operating alongside 10 retail sportsbooks in the state.
However, this success does not mean it will be an easy route towards the legalization of online casinos. Lawmakers in Maryland attempted to progress the online casino issue in the last state legislative session. However, the bill never made it out of the committee stage.
It’s expected that there will be further attempts to secure legislation for iGaming when the 2024 session commences in January. Any attempts will include discussions about how to fund help for people who experience issues with problem gambling. If this situation can be addressed, there are several positive aspects to introducing legalized online casinos, as several other states have chosen to do.
These states include Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Connecticut, Michigan, Nevada, and New Jersey. In New Jersey, legalized online casino sites have contributed more than $249.4 million in taxes to the state’s Casino Revenue Fund, which supports projects involved with helping seniors and people with disabilities.
Across the border in Canada, provinces create their own regulations concerning land-based and online gambling, as per an agreement reached in 1985. So, each province has its own regulations, and the entire industry is overseen by the Canadian Gaming Commission.
Many provinces in the country have introduced land-based casinos and sportsbooks, but most are yet to regulate online casinos. In these provinces, people use online casinos in Canada that are based offshore as this is the only way for them to play and access casino games.
Ontario is the only Canadian province to launch a regulated online gambling market. According to operators iGaming Ontario (iGO), the Ontario government received around $260 million from industry revenues in the first year of operation.
Lawmakers in Maryland may be looking at this as a sign of what legalizing online casinos could do for their state government. They may also be looking at the example of New Jersey to see how taxation from online gambling could benefit Maryland residents.
Despite these potential benefits, there is a way to go before iGaming could be legalized in Maryland. There are arguments for and against a legal iGaming market. There is also an ongoing Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency study into the potential economic impacts of legalization. The results of this study are expected to be announced in November 2023.
If legalization does ever happen, it’s likely that licenses will be awarded to the six land-based casino operators in the state to run the online operations. It’s also likely that the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency will oversee any iGaming industry that comes into existence.