Maryland may well find itself out of the sports betting loop should New Jersey win a repeal of PASPA, and thereby open the floodgates to legal sports betting across the US. Despite being overwhelmingly voted in via a referendum last month, Bill H 1014 Expansion of Commercial Gaming Sports Wagering was not passed to the governor in time for the wrap up of the state’s legislature.
The legislature will not reconvene until January next year, by which time the gaming landscape in the US is likely to be significantly transformed from its current guise. Maryland, as a result, risks falling way behind other states, most of which will be well advanced in their plans to take advantage of a regulated sports betting sector.
As things currently stand, most of Maryland’s neighbouring states have legalised wagering already, pending the PASPA decision. Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Jersey already have laws on the statute books. Delaware already has parlay wagering and is likely to follow suit. Even if Maryland opted to pass its bill next year, there would still be a need to garner voter approval which would delay any potential roll out until 2020.
Benjie Cherniak, President of betting data provision specialist Don Best, described the situation as a ‘somewhat surprising development in Maryland’. He said: “Given that the majority of Maryland’s neighbouring states have already enacted sports betting legislation and given that the Maryland state house just about unanimously approved bill H 1014 last month, one would have thought this wave of momentum would carry over to the upper chamber and, in turn, the electorate. End result now is that Maryland will be playing catch up in a bug way if PASPA its repealed in the months ahead as the earliest we will see Maryland pass a bill is a year from now.”
Cherniak added that one of the potential losers in this equation is MGM. “They had to have been salivating at the prospect of sports betting in their ritzy new National Harbor resort,” he commented. “Now they – and the rest of the state – will play the waiting game.”