Maryland online casino bill passes House

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Maryland online casino bill passes House
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The Senate now has less than a month to pass HB 1319.

US.- The Maryland House has passed proposed online casino legislation by a vote of 92-43. The Senate now has less than a month to pass HB 1319 before the general assembly adjourns on April 8.

Maryland law currently allows for brick-and-mortar casinos, retail sports betting and online sports betting. HB 1319 would allow online casino gaming. The Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Commission would grant up to 30 online casino licences.

The bill proposes a minimum tax rate of 55 per cent on electronic games. Live-dealer games would be taxed at 20 per cent. Operators would pay an initial $1m fee for a five-year licence, with a renewal equal to 1 per cent of average annual profit for the preceding three years.

Three different types of licences would be available: those for brick-and-mortar casinos, Class B wagering facility licences and competitively-awarded licenses. The state’s retail casinos would be allowed up to three licences. Amendments to HB 1319 include a ban on the use of credit cards for igaming and the obligation to provide a counsellor for people who enter the state’s voluntary self-exclusion service.

Maryland’s six casinos generated $159.2m in gaming revenue in February, up 1.4 per cent compared to February 2023. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission reported that MGM National Harbor led with $66.8m in revenue.

MGM National Harbor was followed by Live! Casino & Hotel, with revenue of $59.3m. Horseshoe Casino reported $14.9m, Hollywood Casino $7.4m, Ocean Downs Casino $6.3m and Rocky Gap Casino $4.3m. MGM National Harbor, Live! Casino & Hotel, Hollywood Casino Perryville, saw their revenues increase compared to February 2023, while the other three venues reported a decline. Maryland’s six privately owned casinos offer both slot machines and table games.