Maryland Lawmaker: 2024 Online Casino Legalization Efforts Dead

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Maryland Lawmaker: 2024 Online Casino Legalization Efforts Dead
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Efforts to legalize online casinos in Maryland won’t move forward in 2024, according to Senator Ron Watson.

Maryland legislators came to a budget agreement Wednesday, and online casino revenue wasn’t included as a funding source. The state’s legislative session officially ends Monday.

“Neither iGaming nor the referendum will move forward this session,” Watson told US Bets via email.

Watson sponsored one of the two bills that would’ve legalized mobile casino apps in Maryland. His bill, Senate Bill 603, never made it through the Senate. House Bill 1319, proposed by Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, passed through the House but stalled in the Senate.

Watson held out some hope earlier this session that lawmakers could still move forward with a referendum, even if they couldn’t agree on the components of a bill. If a referendum advanced, it would give voters a chance to approve online casino legalization in November and legislators could figure out the implementation details in 2025.

That plan won’t happen, according to Watson.

Next steps

It’s likely online casino legalization will be discussed again in 2025, although a referendum wouldn’t reach Maryland voters until 2026. It’s arguably more likely that discussions ramp up again in 2026, with an eye toward moving legislation forward ahead of a November 2026 referendum.

Given the failure to pass legislation this year, it appears the earliest mobile casino apps could go live in Maryland would be 2027.

Maryland does allow for legal sports betting, and the state has also legal brick-and-mortar casino gaming. For online casino legislation to move forward in future sessions, online casino stakeholders will need to quell concerns about a potential rise in problem gambling and fears of brick-and-mortar casino cannibalization.