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Maryland explores faster way to approve sports betting

January 18th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

Maryland lawmakers are exploring a faster way to approve sports betting this year, but it’s unclear if they will be able to do it without voter approval in 2020. Voters endorsed a constitutional amendment allowing casinos in 2008, but further commercial gambling expansion requires another voter referendum. Lawmakers failed to pass legislation to put sports betting on last November’s ballot, but momentum appears to be building to act this year. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker proposed to legalize and tax betting on professional sports online and at casinos in Massachusetts. The Republican announced he would file legislation allowing the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to license the state’s three casino operators to offer both on-site and online betting.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May overturned federal law prohibiting states from legalizing sports betting. As neighboring states like Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Jersey have added sports betting to lure gamblers, some Maryland lawmakers don’t want to wait until 2020. Now, some Maryland lawmakers are looking at a potential loophole: Regulate sports betting through the state lottery instead of private entities.

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