Maryland iGaming Bill Advances, Looking at Tough Road in Senate


  • The bill will be decided by voters if approved
  • The bill calls for 11 online casino skins, five of which would be available via competitive bidding 
  • Key members of the Senate oppose passing iGaming measures this year

Legislation paving the way for iGaming in Maryland advanced out of the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee via a 15-7 vote on Wednesday.

House Bill 1319 will legalize Maryland online casinos and put the Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency in charge of regulating the market. The bill was introduced by Del. Vanessa Atterbeary (D-Howard), chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

If the bill makes it out of the General Assembly and is signed by Gov. Wes Moore, voters would decide its fate at the November ballot.

Details of the bill 

The proposal details the different provisions and regulations for Maryland iGaming.  

The state’s four non-race track betting facilities and two bingo halls already own sports betting licenses and would be granted the opportunity to receive an online casino skin. Urban One, which owned part of MGM National Harbor before it sold its share to pursue an opportunity to build a casino in Richmond, Virginia, would also be granted a skin. 

Five other online casino licenses would be made available via competitive bidding. Each license would cost $1 million, and revenue would be taxed at an undetermined rate. 

Casino operators would have to share at least 5% of their online revenue with a “social equity partner.” The opportunity to receive two additional iGaming skins will require the operator to share at least one-third of their revenue with their partner. 

Social equity partners would be determined by the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs, all of which must not exceed a maximum net worth to qualify. 

The next step for the bill is a full hearing on the House floor. It must pass a vote before “Crossover” day on Monday, March 18. If it does, it will go to the Senate, where it must be approved before the end of the legislative session on April 8.

Senate roadblocks 

Despite online sports betting’s rapid growth in popularity, online casinos are available in only seven states.

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore) is on record saying that he and the Senate won’t consider a vote on iGaming in 2024. 

Sen. Guy Guzzone (D-Howard), chair of the Senate and Budget and Taxation Committee, also opposes iGaming legalization in the current session. That’s significant since HB 1319 would likely go to Guzzone’s committee, which has not considered SB 603, a separate iGaming bill it received in January.

Atterbeary is hoping that Guzzone will change his tune when he sees the economic impact that iGaming could have in Maryland.

“I think it’s a different story when things are in front of you and actually on the table and are passed,” Atterbeary said to Maryland Matters. “We made it very clear that our members are interested in doing something for the Blueprint. We’re going to send over what we think is the right thing to do.”

SB 603 proposed six casinos be allowed to manage two iGaming skins each. Licenses would cost $1 million, and operators would pay a 47% tax on gross gaming revenue.

Maryland casinos won $1.98 billion in 2023, a 3.3% decline from 2022.