Legislation aimed at legalizing sports betting passes Maryland Senate unanimously, 47-0

Legislation that could legalize sports betting passed Maryland’s state Senate unanimously Tuesday ― opening up the possibility of fans gambling on the Ravens, Orioles and Terps.

Without discussion, senators voted 47-0 to approve a bill, sponsored by Montgomery County Democratic Sen. Craig Zucker, that would let voters decide during the November election whether to allow gambling on a wide variety of games. Betting would be allowed on college and professional sports, but not high school contests.


According to legislative analysts, sports betting could generate around $20 million annually ― money lawmakers say is needed to contribute to a sweeping, expensive overhaul of the state’s public schools.

To be eligible to run a sports betting operation, a licensee would need to pay a one-time application fee of up to $2.5 million and renew it annually at an additional charge, under the legislation. The licensee would keep between 75% and 80% of the profits, with the rest going to the state’s Education Trust Fund.


The bill would allow sports gambling at Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and the Maryland State Fair thoroughbred horse racing tracks and the state’s six casinos. Betting also would be allowed at a Washington Redskins football stadium in Prince George’s County, but only if it is rebuilt or significantly renovated.

Gambling on sports also would allowed online or through smartphone apps that would be affiliated with in-person sports betting locations.

Sports betting operations are underway in 13 states, with six others expected to launch operations in 2020.

The legislation now moves to the House of Delegates.

A poll from Goucher College last month found mixed support in Maryland for online sports gambling and in-person sports betting at locations such as race tracks, casinos and stadiums.