Maryland voters will decide who should lead the country as president for the next four years, but also determine if Maryland should become the 24th state to pass legislation to permit gambling on sports. Question 2, the Sports Betting Expansion Measure, requires only a simple majority.
Cory Fox, vice president of government affairs for FanDuel, told WTOP News this week that the company’s polling shows that public support among likely voters is in the 55-60 percent range.
Polling on Question 2 has been limited. A Goucher College poll conducted in February found that only 47 percent of respondents voiced their support for sports betting. The margin of error was 3.7 percentage points.
However, a poll conducted by Our Voice Maryland earlier this month concluded that 52 percent of state voters support Question 2. The poll’s margin of error was 4.55 percent, concerning for supporters on both sides of the issue.
Sports Betting for Education
The two sportsbook operators have contributed more than $2.75 million to the “Vote Yes on Question 2” campaign, which is using the money on media spots, including television, radio, and online and social media ads. The campaign is also paying for robocalls, telling those who don’t hang up on the benefits of legalized sports betting.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) supports the ballot referendum.
Question 2 provides a critical revenue source for public education without raising taxes on families and businesses,” Hogan said in a statement last week. “This initiative builds on the very successful ‘Hogan Lockbox,’ which puts casino revenues in a lockbox dedicated to education.”
Question 2 would legalize sports betting in Maryland. But a host of issues would need to be ironed out by lawmakers. A few pertinent questions:
Will mobile sports wagering be permitted?
What tax rate will be imposed on sports betting revenues?
What will the licensing fee be for sports betting?
What businesses, other than casinos, will qualify to operate a sportsbook?
Whatever the associated tax on sports gambling is, the money will be set aside for public education. That will be made clear to voters as they decide on Question 2.
“Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?” Question 2 asks.
No Coordinated Challenger
While Marylanders are being swamped with pro-sports betting marketing, there is no opposing group running ads against Question 2.
The Baltimore Sun did voice resistance to sports betting in a recent editorial op-ed. Maryland’s largest newspaper cited the lack of concrete details in its reasoning.
“There should be more transparency in this process upfront before charging ahead. Work out the details, then Marylanders can make an informed decision. Until then, we urge a vote against Question 2,” the Sun concluded.
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