Legislators team up with Maryland labor unions to oppose iGaming legalization

March 18, 2024
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They claim an online market could cost land-based casino workers their jobs.

Several Maryland lawmakers and casino worker labor unions have banded together to push back against a bill that would bring legal iGaming to the state. Union workers and Republican legislators recently gathered in Annapolis to voice their concerns, according to a CBS News Baltimore local report.

The bill in question is House Bill 1319, which was authored by Maryland Senator Ron Watson. HB 1319 would not only open the iGaming market in Maryland but would also bring legalized poker to the state.

Should Watson’s latest bill pass in the legislature, online gaming revenue would be taxed 46.5%. The state currently brings in revenue from Maryland’s six casinos, as well as from fantasy sports and statewide sports betting.

A recent MarylandBetting.com survey showed that out of the 1000 state residents polled, 75% were in favor of expanding iGaming statewide.

But union workers and some lawmakers have voiced concern that bringing online casinos to Maryland players could take away jobs from land-based casino employees.

Those in favor of adding a commercial iGaming market said expanded gambling would generate substantial tax revenue for the state.

Maryland iGaming has been up for debate more than once. Senator Watson proposed a similar bill last year to implement an online commercial market.

However, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee did not move forward with the proposal.

Retail sports betting has been legal in the state of Maryland since 2021. The state opened its online sports wagering market in 2022.

Maryland’s sportsbooks currently contribute 15% of all taxable wins to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund. The organization supports public education programs around the state.

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