The sports industry has been around for centuries, with different forms of it popping up in various parts of the world. Along with that, sports betting has been a part of the sports entertainment industry for quite some time now. However, it wasn’t until recently that sports betting became legalized in North America.
In this blog post, we will discuss sports betting in the United States and, more specifically, how Maryland’s legalization of sports betting has changed the landscape. Stay tuned for key facts about sports betting and its legal aspects!
How sports betting changed in the United States
Until very recently, sports betting was illegal throughout the United States. On October second, 2006, Congress passed legislation criminalizing online wagers placed or received within the United States. This was known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act—known to the gambling world as Black Monday—and it made it much more difficult for Americans to place bets online.
The passage of this bill led many sports bettors to turn to illegal bookies operating within the United States, which created a large underground market for sports betting, as the offshore books lost millions and the risk of using them was at an all-time high.
In 2011, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill legalizing sports betting in the state, but it was ultimately vetoed by Governor Martin O’Malley. After the veto, sports betting remained illegal in Maryland.
However, things changed once again in 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in the case of Murphy vs. NCAA. This paved the way for states to legalize sports betting, and Maryland was quick to do so.
“On a writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the PASPA’s prohibition of state authorization of sports gambling violated the anti-commandeering rule because it unequivocally dictated what a state legislature might and might not do.” —case brief from Lexisnexis.com
In May of 2018, Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill into law that legalized sports betting in Maryland. The bill created the framework for sports betting to take place at casinos, racetracks, and online.
However, the first legal sports bets in Maryland were not placed until December 9th of 2021. And in a fitting turn of events, it was placed by Governor Larry Hogan at the MGM National Harbor along with Maryland football hero, Joe Theismann.
This ruling opened up the floodgates for individual states to start legalizing sports betting, and Maryland was one of the first to do so. Before the ruling, sports betting in Maryland was only possible through illegal bookies, offshore betting outlets, or by traveling to states like Nevada, where sports betting is legal.
The Maryland case study
Now that sports betting is legal in Maryland, and Maryland online gaming is up and running, bettors no longer have to participate in these risky and often illegal activities. Instead, they can safely and legally place their bets at one of the many sportsbooks that have popped up across the state or select online outlets.
The legalization of sports betting has also positively impacted the state’s economy. Sports betting is now a billion-dollar industry in the United States, and Maryland is seeing its fair share of that revenue. In addition to the taxes generated from sports betting, the state also sees increased tourism and spending at local businesses.
All in all, it’s safe to say that sports betting has had a positive impact in some ways on Maryland since its legalization. And with more and more states jumping on board, it’s only going to get bigger and better from here.
Returning to the topic of legal tax revenue, from just March through June of 2022, retail sports betting operations in Maryland handled $106.5 million in wagers. This amount is a solid average of 26.6 million per month and has led to an average of just under $500,000.00 in taxes paid per month!
So, if you’re against sports betting for moral reasons, look at it this way: the tax money that is generated from sports betting goes into the state’s General Fund. This fund is used to pay for things like education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
The legalization of sports betting has also led to the creation of jobs. There are now people who work at sportsbooks and online sports betting sites. This is a good thing, because more people are employed in Maryland than before, all thanks to the wider legalization of gambling.
This doesn’t mean there have not been any negatives coming from sports betting itself, betting can certainly lead to creating bad habits on the daily routines of common citizens and it has been associated with addiction problems in the past, but that’s where the importance of keeping the people informed about good practices and a healthy approach into betting can really be beneficial not only to the image of the industry itself but also to the general contributions that it does to the community as a whole.
The sports betting industry in the United States has come a long way since its humble beginnings. What was once considered to be a taboo activity is now legal in many states, with more states considering legalization every year. Maryland is one such state, and its experience with sports betting legalization shows just how much the industry has changed in recent years.
Of course, there is a case to make about both the benefits and risks of the industry as a whole, but with more states looking to legalize sports betting, it is clear that the industry is here to stay and states like Maryland are reaping the benefits.