Analysis

Wedge Index betting ballot boost for Maryland

Maryland is likely to follow Louisiana and South Dakota by voting in favor of sports-betting when the measure appears on the ballot in November.

Depending on the nature of the eventual legislation, Maryland could shoot up the Wedge Index from its tied-18th position to at least number 12 in the rankings. 

With residents expected to vote in favor it will also be a case of seeing how the regulatory detail evolves. 

Even if the ballot returns a yes on sports-betting, Maryland’s bettors will likely have to wait until 2022 before being able to place a bet. 

Maryland is one of three states with sports-betting ballot measures up before the voters. The others are South Dakota and Louisiana.

Optionality on regulations

This leaves open the question of whether the regulations will allow for online and mobile betting and remote registration. 

These features will play a determining role in where the state ends up in the Wedge Index ratings. Lawmakers will subsequently assess tax rates, license eligibility and fees. 

By adding remote registration, a state gains 15 points in the Wedge Index ratings.

Turnout is expected to be significant for the November 3 elections.

Gordon Medenica, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, told Gamblingcompliance.com he did not see his state as a trendsetter. 

Filling in the map

Neighboring states of Virginia and the District of Columbia have already legalized sports wagering.

“I don’t think we’re a large addition to the pie. We’re filling in our slice,” he said.

“Keep in mind that the whole interest in sports betting is to get it out of the hands of the illegal operators. It’s not so much a market share gain and state versus state, as it is just converting the activity that’s already occurring into a legal, regulated entity.”

Lost income

In common with other gaming states, Maryland’s casinos have taken a revenue hit since the start of the pandemic. 

Being able to offer sports-betting will be one way of making up for lost income. 

Regulating online and mobile betting and enabling remote registration would also add scale and ease-of-use to the product portfolio.  

Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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