A Washington Post poll conducted in Sept. 2017 showed that 55 percent of respondents approved of legalizing sports betting with only 33 percent disapproving — the highest level of support ever recorded by the Roper Center public opinion archive.
Now a brand new Post poll surveying Maryland registered voters found numbers in line with the national figures — 53 percent are in favor of legal sports wagering on professional sports, against 37 percent opposed (10 percent had no opinion).
Unfortunately for those Marylanders approving and also desiring to make legal sports bets, they’ll probably be waiting more than two years to do so within Maryland borders.
The Maryland state constitution requires that any gambling expansion go to the voters via ballot referendum. In March, the House of Delegates passed a bill, 124-14, that would have put the matter on the Nov. 6 ballot, however the bill failed to make it out of committee in the Senate before the legislative session ended.
As proponents at the time advised, now the next opportunity to get it on the ballot won’t come until November 2020, unless lawmakers have the motivation and find a way to bypass the state constitution, which appears unlikely.
Meanwhile, Maryland is surrounded on all sides by states that have or may seek to legalize sports betting: West Virginia (sportsbooks open), Pennsylvania (opening soon), Delaware (open) and there’s even talk of non-gaming state Virginia legalizing, or at least one lawmaker has plans to introduce a bill.
Further, there’s a live bill in the City Council of the District of Columbia to bring sports betting to Washington D.C., which abuts Maryland, and where many Maryland residents travel for work. So there could be a reverse of other traditional casino gaming where D.C. sends its residents and tax dollars to Maryland’s MGM National Harbor and other casinos.
The poll also found that voters under the age of 40 were most supportive of legalizing, with about 70 percent in favor. Likewise men provided more support for it than women as 62 percent of males approved versus to 46 percent of females.