It was almost a year ago that Maryland opened its doors for applications for betting licenses, and all these months later, the sports betting scene in the state is booming. It was several months ago that Maryland’s mobile-based sports betting market started trading, and by the start of this month, twelve operators in the state were actively trading. However, seeking to take advantage of this growth, Maryland’s lawmakers have started looking at iGaming, which is sparking concerns in the state.
Put simply, iGaming refers to slot machines and casino games – and up until now, the Maryland betting scene has been focused almost exclusively on sports betting. There are concerns that this more addictive form of gambling will have terrible implications for the Maryland markets, but governed correctly, there are few real concerns.
Will Maryland Invest in iGaming?
These days, iGaming is almost a global concept, with countless online casinos springing up offering players a diverse array of digital gambling products. Most prominently, this includes online slots and traditional casino games like poker, roulette, and blackjack, but there are plenty more games besides. As these games are so accessible and readily available, there are concerns that Maryland’s bettors will be heavily swung towards them and they’ll pick up dangerous habits.
In a statement, Maryland State Senator, Katherine Klausmeier, said:
‘I would vote against that in a New York Minute – it’s just too easy to lose money. When we passed the sports wagering bill, we should have said part of that money is going to problem gambling. We missed the boat. We won’t miss the boat this time.’
Reportedly, the introduction of iGaming in Maryland would help to create an exclusive ‘education funding stream’, with the government reclaiming taxes collected on iGaming platforms and using them to do good. It’s a balance that’s struck in almost every state across the country, with gambling taxes often being used to fund gambling addiction programmes, homelessness organisations, and education centres.
By November 2023, the Lottery and Gaming Control Agency in Maryland will submit an affidavit on iGaming that outlines the potential benefits of the concept. There’s no doubt that it could have an impact where ‘problem gambling’ is concerned, but the state is also approaching a financial deficit, and the extra income earned by the gathering of taxes on iGaming offerings could bolster the state’s coffers.
It’s expected that we’ll have a much better idea of what’s going to happen in Maryland with respect to iGaming by the end of the year.