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Maryland Senate clears sports betting bill in landslide vote


The Maryland Senate has passed a bill that would legalise sports betting in the US state, approving the measure by a landslide vote of 47-0.

Senate Bill 4 will now progress to the House of Representatives, with a hearing in the Ways and Means Committee scheduled for March 19.

Introduced by Craig Zucker in January this year, SB 4 sets out measures for both land-based and online sports wagering in the state.

Operators seeking to offer sports betting services in Maryland would need to pay a license fee of $2.5m, plus an annual $250,000 renewal fee. Online operators may also offer sports wagering on behalf of an existing sports wagering licensee, provided they pay a license fee of at least $5,000.

Licensees would also be subject to a tax rate of 20%, should the bill pass into law.

Earlier this month, the bill was amended in the Senate after a series of proposals were put forward. Among the approved amendments was a measure to permit sports wagering at three racetracks – Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park, and Maryland State Fairgrounds.

The amendment also states that sports betting would be allowed at “a stadium located in Prince George’s county that is used primarily for professional football.”

This clause is intended to refer to FedEx Field, home of National Football League franchise the Washington Redskins. With the District of Columbia’s sports betting regulations allowing betting in stadia, the clause is likely intended to dissuade the franchise from moving to a stadium within the District.

In addition, an amendment set out that “certain applicants and licensees are subject to certain minority business participation goals”. The Special Secretary for the Office of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs would be responsible for drawing up these goals.