Analysis

Gov. Hogan weighs into Maryland betting debate

Sports-betting looks like more of a certainty after Gov. Larry Hogan endorsed the referendum on allowing sports-betting in the state.

The referendum on sports-betting on November 3 got further heavyweight backing this week when Gov. Larry Hogan said he supported the measure.

Question 2 on the ballot will ask Marylanders whether to allow sports-betting in the state. Tax revenues from betting would be earmarked for the state’s education funding.

Talking about the current system whereby land-based gaming taxes are also directed at schools, the governor said the ‘Hogan Luckbox’ should be extended to sports-betting.

“We are already funding our K-12 schools at record levels, and this is another way to ensure that is the case for years to come,” he said.

Hogan told NBC Sports that with the state’s casino having been shuttered during lockdown, expanding gaming in the state would fill the hole in the state’s finances.

“Right now as states are really lacking revenue it’s another potential source of revenue, and it’s much more likely I think to happen,” he added.

Wedge Index move

In terms of gaming-friendliness, Maryland is current T18th in the Wedge Index. Adding sports-betting would quickly move it up the table depending on whether it added online and remote registration and how many skins were offered.

Should all these aspects be included in any final regulations the state would move in on the top 10. 

Including remote registration, for instance, would immediately add 15 points.

Operators with a casino presence in Maryland include MGM, Penn National, Churchill Downs and Cordish.

Churchill Downs’ Ocean Downs website urges its visitors to vote in favor of the ballot measure.

The question

  • Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?

Hogan said he did not know at this stage what might be included in any legislation. “I don’t know exactly what’s it’s going to look like after it comes out of the legislative process,” he said.

Bettors in Maryland will also have to wait to make their first legal bet in the state. The earliest any measure would come into force would be 2022.

Voters in Louisiana and South Dakota also have sports-betting measures in front of them in November.

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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