Maryland Online Casino Backer Gives Up Legalization Efforts Until 2026

  • Maryland came very close to passing online casino legislation this year
  • The Senate ultimately decided not to act on the issue after much debate
  • Online casino backer Sen. Ron Watson said he will try again in 2026
Senate chamber in House
Maryland gamblers will have to wait until at least 2026 for online casino legislation. [Image:]

Despite sports betting rapidly spreading across the nation, only six states currently offer online casino gaming in the US. It seemed likely that Maryland might join the likes of Michigan, Delaware, and Pennsylvania this year, but state casino backers couldn’t get it over the line this time around.

It is the closest the state has come to legalizing the vertical, which would have followed in the footsteps of Maryland sports betting that went live in 2022. In fact, the House passed its own online casino legislation called HB1318 and even included it in its budget proposal for the year, but, after much debate, the Senate chose not to act before the legislative session ended.

Even if we were able to pass the bill, there would be no execution of it”

The Senate online casino bill came courtesy of Sen. Ron Watson, the main advocate for a Maryland online casino market. Considering how close his bill came this year, you might think that Watson would want to push harder in 2025, however, any legalization would need voter approval in 2026, so a bill couldn’t move forward until then regardless.

Speaking with PlayUSA, Watson said he will be ready to go in two years’ time. “Even if we were able to pass the bill, there would be no execution of it,” he explained. “So I’ll reintroduce it in 2026, and hopefully then we’ll be able to pass a bill to add this revenue stream in the state of Maryland.”  

Of course, others could introduce their own legislation in 2025, including possibly Del. Vanessa Atterbeary who sponsored the House Bill this year. But Maryland casino gamblers will have to wait until at least 2026 to place their bets online.

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