Sep 1, 2018; Landover, MD, USA;  Maryland Terrapins offensive lineman Ellis McKennie (68) runs onto the field with his teammates holding a flag in remembrance of Jordan McNair after defeating Texas Longhorns at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Online casino gambling bill dead in Maryland

Maryland’s attempt to legalize online casino gaming in the state has failed.

Earlier this week a bill calling for a state referendum on online casino gaming failed to pass through the state’s General Assembly before the end of the legislative session. With the session now over the earliest online casino gambling could come to Maryland is 2027.

To legalize online casino gaming in the state it requires a constitutional amendment and a state referendum, which could have potentially been put to voters during the election in November. Getting a bill passed through the state senate has proven to be an obstacle for online casino supporters.

A Senate bill sponsored by Senator Ron Watson failed to pass through the Senate, while a House bill sponsored by Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary passed through the House but did not find approval in the Senate.

The legalization of online casino gaming has faced opposition and criticism from more than just the state Senate. Problem gambling organizations in the state condemned the expansion as did the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos. Specifically, the Ocean Downs Casino and Racetrack, and the Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland both expressed fears of lost revenue if online casino gaming was legalized in the state.

Since a state referendum is required before online casino game could be legalized in the state the earliest that could happen is during the 2026 election. That could mean online casino gaming bills and discussion will not be a legislative priority in 2025.

Under currently gaming laws Maryland allows sports betting, both retail and online, and casino gaming at brick-and-mortar casinos.