Maryland and Georgia sports betting bills move to House

Simona Boshkova | Published 9 Mar 2021, 9:58 a.m.

As we bring you more news regarding sports betting in the US, it’s more than obvious that the number of US states that go towards legalising sports betting has increased. Last week we gave you an update on Virginia sports betting, which is closer to adding more licences and expanding its market. The rise in sports betting offerings throughout the US contributed to huge revenue figures and records. Michigan and Pennsylvania were among the states that reached record betting handles in the past few months, generating millions in wagers.

This time we bring you news about Maryland and Georgia, both of which are closer to legalising sports betting in their respective states.

Maryland sports betting bill advances

Marylanders approved sports betting in November and last Friday the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee passed a bill that would legalise sports betting in the state. The Committee amended House Bill 940 which now includes 22 physical locations for sports betting, as well as 15 options for online and mobile sports betting. With sports betting, the state can receive approximately $20 million per year by taxing sports betting companies, contributing to funding for public education.

Sponsored by House Speaker Adriene A. Jones, the bill would automatically grant licences for in-person sports betting at six casinos, three professional sports stadiums, a number of horse racing tracks, the state fairgrounds in Timonium, as well as a “riverboat” off-track betting place on the Potomac River. Operators could apply for a physical betting licence, mobile licence, or both. Getting one type of licence does not guarantee getting another type.

The Committee’s approval will have the bill on track to be debated by the House in the upcoming days. In the meantime, the Senate organised workgroup meetings to discuss Maryland sports betting, but no bill has been introduced so far. Friday’s approval was crucial for the future of sports betting in Maryland, meaning that sports betting in the state could start by early next year.

Georgia Senate passes sports betting bill

Not only Maryland, but Georgia is also on its way to legalising sports betting in the state. On Friday, the Georgia State Senate approved a constitutional amendment and a separate bill that would see sports betting legalised in the state. The proposed amendment passed 41-10, getting the necessary two-thirds vote to pass. Now, the bill moves to the House and requires a two-thirds vote so that voters can have their say in November 2022.

The bill foresees that the revenues from sports betting would go towards college scholarships, broadband internet for rural areas, and health care programs. If Georgia legalises sports betting, operators will have to pay a $10,000 application fee to start. If approved, operators will have to pay an annual license fee of $100,000. At least six operators would be approved to offer sports betting services in the state. Players need to be at least 21 years old to take part in sports betting and they will be able to wager on professional sports teams and events.

It’s expected that some details of the bill will change now that it has moved to the House. The bill has a lot of support and many are looking forward to seeing sports betting in Virginia, including the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance.

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