Maryland has been at the forefront of the recent legislative efforts to legalize sports betting and online casinos across the US. Unlike most countries, the US is unique in the way that each state gains autonomy in its decision on whether or not iGaming ought to be legal or not.
While the situation was in a virtual stalemate for well over a decade, with New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada taking early steps to do so and other states lagging behind, 2023 saw revitalized efforts and many states were able to pass bills in order for the practice to be accepted. The dichotomy between land based casinos and online casinos will be put to a test once and for all.
Which Land Based Casinos Exist in Maryland?
Live! Casino & Hotel: This expansive casino and hotel in Hanover is renowned for its extensive gaming floor, which includes numerous slot machines, table games, a dedicated poker room, and live entertainment venues. The facility also boasts a range of dining options and a luxurious hotel for visitors.
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore: Situated in Baltimore, Horseshoe Casino is known for its lively ambiance and offers a wide variety of slot machines, table games, poker tournaments, and various dining and entertainment choices.
MGM National Harbor: Located in National Harbor, MGM National Harbor is a luxurious resort casino that provides an impressive array of gaming options, high-end accommodations, fine dining restaurants, entertainment venues, and a scenic waterfront view of the Potomac River.
Ocean Downs Casino: Positioned in Berlin, Ocean Downs Casino primarily focuses on electronic gaming and slot machines, complemented by harness racing events and diverse dining options.
Rocky Gap Casino Resort: Nestled in Flintstone amid picturesque mountains, Rocky Gap Casino Resort offers slot machines, table games, a golf course, dining options, and a hotel, providing a serene and scenic gaming experience.
Tribal Gambling Differences
Maryland differs from some other states in the United States because it lacks federally recognized Native American tribes that could operate tribal casinos. The absence of tribal casinos in Maryland can be attributed to several historical and legal factors.
One primary reason is that Maryland does not have federally recognized Native American tribes with sovereign land that meets the criteria for establishing tribal gaming operations under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The IGRA allows tribes to engage in gaming activities on their tribal lands if specific conditions are met, including federal recognition of the tribe and the existence of eligible tribal lands.
Another contributing factor could be Maryland’s history and settlement patterns, which might not have included the establishment of reservations or tribal lands conducive to the development of tribal casinos. Unlike states with significant Native American populations and established reservations, Maryland’s demographic and historical landscape may not have aligned with the conditions necessary for tribal casinos to emerge.
How would Legalizing Online Casinos affect Land Based Casinos?
With online casinos entering the scene, one significant effect could be increased competition within the gambling market. The convenience of online gambling might attract some customers who previously frequented land-based casinos, potentially reducing foot traffic and impacting their revenue streams.
However, this shift might not be entirely negative. Land-based casinos could potentially diversify their income sources by expanding into the online sphere. They might establish their own online gaming platforms, creating additional avenues for revenue generation while maintaining their physical presence.
The introduction of online casinos could also enhance customer engagement for existing land-based casinos. Offering online options might cater to players who prefer the comfort and accessibility of gambling from their homes, supplementing the experiences provided by brick-and-mortar establishments. This could even strengthen customer loyalty to a casino brand that operates both online and offline platforms.
In terms of tourism, land-based casinos have been a draw for visitors in Maryland. The introduction of online casinos might change tourist patterns, potentially affecting the tourism industry’s economic impact derived from visitors to physical casinos.
However, the implementation of online gambling would come with its own set of challenges. Establishing regulations, ensuring responsible gambling practices, and overseeing online platforms would be imperative. Both the state government and casino operators would face regulatory hurdles and technological demands in managing online gambling activities effectively.
What will realistically happen in the future?
Maryland has made several attempts in the past to legalize the practice of online casinos, despite regulatory and financial hurdles. While each attempt has been unsuccessful thus far, there is a growing sentiment that this might be changed come 2024 and with a new vote. Some surveys on the matter looked at how the average resident would vote, with 75% being in favor of a potential legalization.
This speaks volume to a shifting sentiment among the public, and it might be a replicated trend among politicians native to the region, as states such as Illinois that made it legal in 2023 have seen immense gains in tax revenue generated.
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Last Updated on January 29, 2024