Maryland passes sports betting bill with capacity for 60 online operators

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Maryland has passed what looks like being the broadest of the current US legal sports betting bills this week, with lawmakers giving the green light to legislation permitting as many as 60 online operators and 30 class B licenses for retail sportsbooks. The retail count would be spread largely between casinos and professional sports stadiums. 

The bill still requires the signature of Governor Larry Hogan, with full expectations that he will ink the legislation, before rules of operation are drawn up by the state’s gaming regulators. All going to plan, Maryland’s sports betting fans will be able to place their opening bets by September 1 in time for the launch of the 2021 football season.

Crucially, for potential market entrants, the bill does not require in-person registration for the opening of online accounts.

Both major retail and online sportsbooks will be expected to pay a 15% tax, while secondary retail licenses will be subject to a 13% levy on GGR. To get in on the action, major retailers will also be required to pay a license fee of $250,000, falling to $50,000 for smaller retailers.

The annual charge for major operators has been set at $50,000, while their smaller counterparts will pay $10,000. The application cost for online sportsbooks is $500,000 followed by an annual levy of $100,000.

With the potential to host circa 60 online operators, the Old Line State could have the highest number of incumbents in the US and will undoubtedly attract some of the biggest names in the business. Interestingly, such an open marketplace might also catch the attention of new entrants to the US from overseas.