Sports Betting

FanDuel Predicts Successful Maryland Sports Betting Referendum, Claims Adequate Public Support

FanDuel, which along with DraftKings, is funding the public campaign to bring legalized sports betting to Maryland, expects the ballot referendum to pass next month.

Maryland residents could soon bet on their professional sports teams in Baltimore, which play near Inner Harbor (pictured). (Image: Shutterstock)

Maryland voters will decide who should lead the country as president for the next four years, but also determine if Maryland should become the 24th state to pass legislation to permit gambling on sports. Question 2, the Sports Betting Expansion Measure, requires only a simple majority.

Cory Fox, vice president of government affairs for FanDuel, told WTOP News this week that the company’s polling shows that public support among likely voters is in the 55-60 percent range.

Polling on Question 2 has been limited. A Goucher College poll conducted in February found that only 47 percent of respondents voiced their support for sports betting. The margin of error was 3.7 percentage points.

However, a poll conducted by Our Voice Maryland earlier this month concluded that 52 percent of state voters support Question 2. The poll’s margin of error was 4.55 percent, concerning for supporters on both sides of the issue.

Sports Betting for Education

The two sportsbook operators have contributed more than $2.75 million to the “Vote Yes on Question 2” campaign, which is using the money on media spots, including television, radio, and online and social media ads. The campaign is also paying for robocalls, telling those who don’t hang up on the benefits of legalized sports betting.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) supports the ballot referendum.

“Question 2 provides a critical revenue source for public education without raising taxes on families and businesses,” Hogan said in a statement last week. “This initiative builds on the very successful ‘Hogan Lockbox,’ which puts casino revenues in a lockbox dedicated to education.”

Question 2 would legalize sports betting in Maryland. But a host of issues would need to be ironed out by lawmakers. A few pertinent questions:

  • Will mobile sports wagering be permitted?
  • What tax rate will be imposed on sports betting revenues?
  • What will the licensing fee be for sports betting?
  • What businesses, other than casinos, will qualify to operate a sportsbook?

Whatever the associated tax on sports gambling is, the money will be set aside for public education. That will be made clear to voters as they decide on Question 2.

“Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?” Question 2 asks.

No Coordinated Challenger

While Marylanders are being swamped with pro-sports betting marketing, there is no opposing group running ads against Question 2.

The Baltimore Sun did voice resistance to sports betting in a recent editorial op-ed. Maryland’s largest newspaper cited the lack of concrete details in its reasoning.

“There should be more transparency in this process upfront before charging ahead. Work out the details, then Marylanders can make an informed decision. Until then, we urge a vote against Question 2,” the Sun concluded.

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with Casino.org in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email: devin.oconnor@casino.org

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