The Maryland Senate began hearings Wednesday on a bill to remove some of the last blocks to unfettered gaming statewide — a plan that would ask voters to legalize online gaming for sponsors paying a hefty licensing fee.
SB 0267 was heard Wednesday. It is sponsored by Sen. Ron Watson, D-Prince George’s, and Senate Majority Leader Nancy J. King, D-Montgomery. The bill would ask voters in November 2024 whether to legalize online gaming, such as virtual table games or slot machines, and would continue the expansion of gambling the General Assembly has approved in recent years, including sports betting that began in November. Currently, table gaming is limited to the premises of Maryland’s casinos.
Funds generated for the state from the expansion would be used for education, particularly the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, an education reform initiative.
“We are missing one vital component with respect to gaming and that’s the fourth leg of the casino tool, which is (internet) gaming. The fundamental aspect of this bill, it creates a new funding stream for education, and I have deep concerns that we need to do what we can to support our Blueprint,” said Watson. “I am grateful for the efforts to fund the Blueprint but we have all seen and been briefed, that we have some significant challenges to meet in the out years. According to the Comptroller’s Office and detailed in the fiscal note, as much as $97 million could be generated by fiscal year 2028.”
Click here to read the rest of the article written by Michael Charles over at Baltimore Business Journal
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