Maryland Gambling Condemned due to COVID-19

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Mar 30, 2020 15:03Joe Tarzaiski

Maryland’s aspirations to pass their recent sports betting bill has encountered a hiccup during its legal process. The sponsor of the bill feels issues received from the House could have been avoided if the session was not shortened by COVID-19 concerns.

The sessions were originally scheduled to adjourn April 6, but was shorted on March 17 due to avoid possible health ramifications. The additional time is felt it would have increased the chances to clean up the loose ends of the bill.

Senator Craig Zucker stated: “I think if we had the three weeks, it absolutely would have made a difference. I just don’t think we had enough time to work out the issues with the House given that we were on a severely truncated schedule.”

Delegate Nick Mosby lead the initiative to turn down the bill due to inclusion concerns. He firmly disagreed with Zucker’s assessment, explaining issues with the bill had larger issues which would have taken longer than three weeks to resolve.

What was involved with the bill?

The bill was built to legalize Maryland sports betting at four casinos, three racetracks as well as the Washington Redskins FedEx field and practice facility.

Members of the House Legislative Black Caucus felt determination of how minority and women-owned businesses would be included in the sports betting community before the decision to pass the bill was made.

Maryland Voting Voices to Make Ultimate Decision?

Zucker stated: “A lot of people worked to make this the best possible legislation to put in front of Maryland voters. We wanted to make sure it had a strong minority business enterprise component. Ultimately, this is about Marylanders deciding they want to have sports betting and making sure we’re funding children’s future.

“The way the legislation finished is, it allows Marylanders to have a say on sports betting at the ballot box in November. If it’s their wisdom to move forward, we’ll decide what it looks like another day when we have more time.”

The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission could very well make their determination how to conduct Maryland sports betting pending voter approval along with the governor’s permission. With no legislative action, this could eventually become reality to the state as soon as January 2021.

Zucker additionally said: I haven’t had any conversations with members of the House delegation about their issues with the bill. I look forward to working with them as a team, if Maryland voters approve this, to figure out what legislation will look like. I’m not going to strategize until I see what Maryland voters decide in November and we get through the current pandemic.”

The beginning of Maryland’s legislative session begins the second week of January, 2021, and lasts through the second week of April. Sports gambling is inevitable to become one with Maryland, but it seems the hopeful progressions on the topic are currently stagnant.

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Joe Tarzaiski
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Joe Tarzaiski began his sports writing career in 2004 in the Philadelphia market, analyzing and handicapping professional sports, college sports, poker and various table games. He currently reports on the increased efforts on the legalization and continual growth of sports betting throughout the United States. A Philadelphia University alum, Joe is dedicated to following current trends in both the gaming community and daily news throughout the sports world.
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