Opinion

Yes! Maryland heads for sportsbetting vote victory

The likelihood that Maryland will vote in favor of regulating sports betting in next week’s ballot increased after local polls showed a majority of voters were in the yes camp.

Maryland is one of three states that have sports betting referenda on the ballot in next week’s vote and local polls suggest those in favor of the measure are in the ascendant.

The question before the voters is relatively simple: “Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and event betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”

Local pollsters suggest that those who will vote yes are outpolling the opposition by almost two-to-one.

The campaign in Maryland has been backed by leading operators. DraftKings and FanDuel are both running website campaigns pointing people to ‘vote yes to question 2’.

Political support

The campaign was given a further boost last week when Gov. Larry Hogan gave his vocal support to the issue.

“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 told the local NBC Sports station.

The Governor has earmarked any revenue from sports betting to go towards the state’s educational funds.

The state senator who sponsored the gambling bill earlier this year in Maryland, Sen. Craig Zucker (D-Montgomery), told local media he was confident.

“For the most part, people already understand that gaming is in Maryland, and when they see it, I think people will most likely be inclined to support it,” he said.

“Especially since the money will be going to education.”

Lobbyists believe that for the voters sports betting just represents a further extension of gaming in the state.

The end of the beginning

The vote would represent a victory for the sports betting industry but would also just mark the start of a process that might see Marylanders actually bet on sports in 2022.

The details of what forms of betting will be worked out by a General Assembly of state lawmakers which would convene in January.

That debate will decide whether mobile betting would be allowed.

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.

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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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