Maryland Retailers Association Opposes Online Casino Bills

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Maryland Retailers Association Opposes Online Casino Bills
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The Maryland Retailers Association came out in opposition to online casino bills in the state Thursday. The MRA also shared results from a poll it commissioned that suggests a notable portion of Marylanders aren’t supportive of gambling expansion. The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling.

The poll, in which 570 Marylanders were surveyed over the phone, suggests 55% of Marylanders opposed online casino legalization when initially surveyed. Nearly 30% of respondents supported mobile casino apps being legalized in the state, while the final 15% of respondents didn’t know how they felt on the topic.

“Marylanders in every region of the state, Republicans and Democrats alike, are united in their opposition of iGaming and iLottery,” Cailey Locklair, MRA President, said in a press release. “These policies would negatively impact not only the gaming and lottery industries but also every community that benefits from their local economic stimulation.”

Opinions vary in legislative hearings

Legislators held hearings about Maryland online casino bills this week in the House and Senate, with each featuring hours of debate about the merits of gambling expansion. Opponents of the bill, like the MRA, have emphasized the belief that bringing mobile casino apps to Maryland will hurt the state’s brick-and-mortar facilities and their surrounding businesses.

Other gambling stakeholders have pushed back on that idea, suggesting concerns about cannibalization are overblown and arguably completely unfounded.

The debates are expected to continue in the General Assembly this month. The state’s crossover deadline is March 18, and the legislative session ends on April 8. It’s unclear if legislators will be able to reach an agreement on the best path forward with online casino gaming.

If a bill passes, it’ll need to be approved by Maryland voters in November to become law.