The landlord of the MLB Baltimore Orioles and NFL Ravens is asking state lawmakers in the Maryland Senate to amend sports betting legislation that has already been passed in the House of Delegates.
Earlier this month, Maryland’s lower chamber approved House Bill 940 with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 130-9 vote. The sports betting measure authorizes up to 37 licenses.
Twelve Class A in-person sports betting licenses would be set aside for Maryland’s six commercial casinos, three professional sports stadiums, two horse racetracks, and Maryland State Fair. Ten Class B in-person sportsbook licenses would be available for local businesses by competitive bid. Finally, 15 mobile sports betting licenses would be up for grabs, also by competitive bid.
The Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA), the landlord for the Orioles’ Camden Yards and Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, says the teams’ retail sports betting licenses should automatically qualify for mobile wagering privileges.
The Authority recommends allowing all professional sports teams in Maryland to have full sports gaming licenses, both brick-and-mortar and digital depending on their preferences,” written testimony from MSA Chairman Thomas Kelso read.
Kelso’s comments went before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, which is reviewing HB940.
The MSA doesn’t want the Orioles and Ravens to have to pay $250,000 for their Class A sports wagering license. They then would enter into a competitive bidding process to each obtain a $500,000 mobile sports betting permit.
The legislation also limits the Orioles and Ravens land-based stadium sportsbooks to operate only during home games.
“I respectfully request that you amend HB940 to allow all the professional sports teams in Maryland to have both brick-and-mortar and digital licenses that are not restricted to the actual days and times when professional sports events are conducted,” Kelso said. “The goal should be to increase sports fan enthusiasm, which is best achieved by having our sports teams involved in all modes of sports wagering.”
Baltimore Stadium Overhaul
Caesars Entertainment continues to see its Horseshoe Baltimore Casino struggle. The casino giant wants to make the short walk from the Orioles and Ravens stadiums to the casino more inviting, as the corridor remains bleak and potentially unsafe.
Kelso believes sports betting could assist.
Allowing professional sports teams to have full sports gaming licenses and not putting restrictions on those licenses is consistent with the plan to evolve the Camden Yards complex into a live, work, and play environment,” Kelso added.
Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Guy Guzzone said the committee remains open to amendments. He explained that the only concrete matter with the sports teams is that they will all have access to the same sports betting options.
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