Maryland Sports Betting Referendum Passes Easily, Joins Neighboring States

Posted on: November 4, 2020, 11:43h. 

Last updated on: November 4, 2020, 01:32h.

Maryland voters easily passed a ballot referendum on Election Day that legalizes sports betting.

Maryland sports betting gambling
A sign posted in support for Maryland’s Question 2. Maryland citizens voted yes on Question 2 on Election Day to legalize sports betting. (Image: Capital News Service)

Question 2 asked Marylanders whether they approve of “commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?” Roughly two out of every three voters cast their ballot in favor of the referendum.

More than 1.3 million Maryland citizens supported the sports betting question, with less than 671,000 in opposition.

The biggest sports betting victory this year is in Maryland, where over 66 percent of voters approved Question 2 to legalize sports betting,” John DeCree of Union Gaming said.

Maryland joins its neighbors in becoming a legal sports betting state. Delaware, West Virginia, DC, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have all passed laws authorizing sports betting.

Maryland wasn’t the only state to legalize sports betting on Election Day. The state joined with the majority of Louisiana parishes, as well as South Dakota.

Fifty-five of Louisiana’s 64 parishes voted to legalize sports gambling, while South Dakota voters approved sports betting in Deadwood, and at Native American casinos.

Vote Topples Polls

There was limited pre-election polling data on Maryland’s Question 2 odds. But what was conducted showed a relatively split opinion.

A Goucher College poll released in February found that only 47 percent of likely voters supported expanding gambling to allow sports betting. Another poll, however, released last month by Our Voice Maryland, found that 52 percent supported Question 2.

DraftKings and FanDuel were not swayed by the polling data. Combined, they spent nearly $3 million on efforts to convince voters to support the legalization of sports betting.

Five commercial gaming companies that are publicly traded own and operate casinos in Maryland. They are MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Penn National Gaming, Golden Entertainment, and Churchill Downs.

DraftKings is up 3.5 percent as of this afternoon, Nov. 4. FanDuel is a subsidiary of Flutter Entertainment, a bookmaking holding company headquartered in Ireland.

Shell Bill

Question 2 legalized sports betting in Maryland. But it will be some time before the first legal bet is wagered. The ballot referendum simply gives state lawmakers the peoples’ blessing to proceed with deciding on regulations that will govern the expanded gambling.

The ballot measure was essentially an advisory question asking if voters wanted sports betting. This is just the first step in a long process where there will need to be additional legislation on everything else for the state to actually have sports betting,” said a note from Truist Financial.

Numerous factors must be decided, including where sports betting will be permitted, how much licenses will cost, and what tax rate will be imposed on associated gross gaming revenues.

The state’s six commercial casinos are nearly a sure thing for being allowed to incorporate a sportsbook into their properties. Those casinos are MGM National Harbor, Maryland Live!, Horseshoe Baltimore, Rocky Gap Resort, Hollywood Casino Perryville, and Ocean Downs.