Maryland Falls Short Of Legal Sports Betting

April 17, 2018
Maryland State Flag

Maryland will not be joining the progressive states pushing out legalized sports gambling after it failed to get a bill signed off in time. The state’s legislative session ended without any bill being pushed forward, despite it doing so well in the House of Representatives. It appears that the bill died in the state Senate. This inaction means that Maryland will not have any sports gambling in 2018, but that does not mean they are out of the sports betting race altogether.

There is an upside to this indecision. Maryland may not be able to be one of the first states to offer legal sports betting, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The state legislation is back in action in January. By that time, a number of significant things can happen. For one, the New Jersey Supreme Court case could finally be resolved. This SCOTUS case is the crux of legal sports gambling in the US and will be the nail in the coffin of any type of bans on sports wagering.

The case officially began back in December and the Supreme Court has yet to make a decision. They are expected to issue a final ruling sometime this year. In the event of New Jersey winning, PASPA will probably be repealed, thus triggering multiple states’ sports betting legislation and officially launching the US sports gambling industry.

Speaking of these states, they provide another advantage to Maryland waiting to pass legislation. Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Jersey are amongst the few states to pass sports betting legislation at this point. Once PASPA is repealed these states have the green light to roll out sports gambling, pending license applications, etc. Only brick-and-mortar gambling will be allowed since the Federal Wire Act is still in play, but some analysts believe this law will soon be on its way out if PASPA falls. If the Federal Wire Act is dismissed, that means states can push out legal betting options.

If PASPA is repealed soon, that leaves these states the better part of a year to implement sports gambling. This gives Maryland time to play observer and see how these states get their sports betting ventures off the ground. If they are smart, Maryland will take notes of what works, what doesn’t and what is giving these states the most problems. That way, Maryland can come back hitting the ground running in January.

This time also gives sports leagues like the MLB and NBA an opportunity to effectively lobby over a longer duration. They will be able to sink their teeth into Maryland and pitch their ideas for what legal sports betting should be. The sports betting market will be on their terms, but it may be easier to pass a bill with the leagues supporting you. In any case, residents have some time before any type of sports betting is legally allowed in the state of Maryland.