A dead initiative to make sports betting in casinos legal will be resurrected in Maryland next year.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the company that operates Maryland Live Casino & Hotel is now gathering support in order to put sports betting back on the General Assembly’s agenda.
The push comes as the Supreme Court has finally taken cognizance of the appeal of New Jersey to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The controversial federal law restricts legal sports betting to Nevada and a small number of other states.
Joe Weinberg, chief executive of Cordish Global Gaming, has thrown his support for legal sports betting at Maryland’s six casinos while urging members of the Joint Committee on Gaming Oversight to start discussions on the initiative.
If Weinberg successfully convinces lawmakers to take up the issue, it is likely that a constitutional amendment will be included on next year’s general election ballot. Maryland law requires voters to have the final say on whether casinos can offer sports betting.
But it seems lawmakers don’t share Weinberg’s enthusiasm toward the idea of legal sports betting. The measure’s sponsor, House gaming committee co-chair Del. Frank Turner, isn’t sure it will pass next year.
“If we don’t move on it in ’18, we can move on it in ’20,” the Howard County Democrat said.
That’s why Weinberg issued a warning to legislators that the state may lose casino tax dollars to other states that are already preparing to legalize sports betting if the SC rules in favor of New Jersey’s case.
“If we wait for 100 percent clarity on federal law, we will be two to three years behind the surrounding states,” he said.