Maryland Senate Throws Gambling Out of the Constitution

Maryland Senate Throws Gambling Out of the Constitution

As 20 states gear up to fill their coffers with sports betting tax revenue, Maryland is taking strong steps to create a wagering infrastructure. The state Senate has now passed a bill that takes the gambling out of the constitution.

What happened in Maryland?

On Tuesday, the Maryland Senate approved a new bill that will take gaming out of the state constitution by an overwhelming majority of 46-1. With this bill, the Senate has overturned a key component of legislation adopted by the General Assembly over 10 years ago. Note that in 2007, the legislature legalized casinos in the state but added a clause that any further alteration of expansion of the gambling law would require a voter referendum.

Maryland Senate Throws Gambling Out of the Constitution

The recently passed Senate Bill 325 gives back the right to make legislative decisions back to the legislature. The bill was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Nancy J. King. The Montgomery Democrat was supported by 19 other senators who became the bill’s co-sponsors. Eventually, it passed with minimal hassle. A complementary bill – HB 605, has been introduced in the House of Delegates. On Thursday, the Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on the bill.

Senate Bill 4 is also pending before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. It held a hearing on the sports betting legalization bill but is yet to vote. Sen. Craig J. Zucker’s bill suggests a $250,000 annual fee and a $2.5 million upfront payment for sports betting licenses. He proposes 20% cuts of the proceeds to go to the Education Trust Fund and rest to be given to the sportsbooks.

The consequences for Maryland

If the House bill is also passed and becomes law, voters will get two gambling-related referendums on the November ballot.

Senate Bill 4 will also be an important task for the Senate to complete since it could open up new revenue sources for the state. The bill falls in line with the recommendations made by the Kirwan Commission. As 20% of the proceeds go to the Education Trust Fund, it could bring several million dollars in additional funding on K-12 education. The state is expected to net around $12 million every year from sports betting revenue.

The Democrat-sponsored bills will meet their fate when they reach Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s office. Hogan noted that he is willing to look at the bill. However, he said that the projected revenues would not be enough to fund the Kirwan Commission recommendations for K-12 education.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.