Any chance of sports gambling making it to Maryland this year is officially dead. A bill that would have allowed the activity in the state will not be considered before the end of the legislative season, which means Marylanders will now have to wait at least two years before they can legally start making sports wagers in the state.
The president of the Maryland Senate, Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. announced on Wednesday that the General Assembly is not going to review legalized sports gambling this year. He added, “Sports betting is going to have to wait until next year.”
Miller, along with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, had started a push for legalized sports gambling in 2018. The hope was to have the activity launch quickly in order to allow Maryland to be able to compete against other states in the area that were also considering sports gambling legislation.
In a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation this past Wednesday to discuss sports gambling, Senator Chris West explained, “This will be a brief hearing, I think, because this bill is a constitutional amendment and it is my understanding that there will be no more constitutional amendments passed this year. So this is kind of a preview of what you’ll see next year.”
Maryland Attorney General Brian K. Frosh has determined that sports gambling could only be allowed through a constitutional amendment. This means that the state’s voters are the only ones who can decide on sport gambling’s fate in the state, and no elections are scheduled this year that would have allowed a vote.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) last year, several states have already introduced legalized sports gambling. Among these have been New Jersey, which led the fight against PASPA, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, West Virginia and the District of Columbia (D.C.), among others. D.C. is one of the more recent jurisdictions to legalize the activity and, as a Maryland neighbor, is in a great position to poach many of the sports gambling fans in Maryland that are anxious to place their bets. West Virginia, another Maryland neighbor, will also become a favorite with the state’s gambling fans.