Gambling Operators Spend More than $2 Million to Promote Legalization of Sports Betting Services in Maryland

According to the latest campaign finance reports, over $2 million have been spent by gambling operators as part of their efforts to persuade Maryland voters to give their support to the legalization of sports betting in the state.

Recent media reports have revealed that two of the largest online betting operators – DraftKings and FanDuel – have less than $500,000 left of the overall amount of $2.75 million they have so far invested into a group called “Vote Yes on Question 2”. Most of the money has been used to fund TV, radio and online advertising, as well as direct email marketing campaigns aimed at persuading state residents to vote in favor of the proposed sports betting legalization in Maryland.

The group’s account was opened in July 2020, with DraftKings investing $250,000 in it. The campaign went public in September 2020. Then, in August and September, another $1 million was donated by DraftKings, while FanDuel contributed $1.5 million.

At the same time, the casino venues across the state, along with the Maryland Jockey Club, have been offering free on-site advertising, as well as email and social media marketing solutions for a group in support of sports betting services called “Fund Our Future”. A combined donation of $32,300 to Fund Our Future has been made by the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland Live! Casino and Hotel, the Hollywood Casino Perryville and the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. According to a recent report, very little of that amount has been spent so far.

Maryland Voters Must Say Whether They Would Support Sports Betting Legalization

Reportedly, the aforementioned businesses and other casino operators have been making “in-kind” donations to the cause.

At the beginning of October, the Maryland Jocker Club revealed that it contributed to the campaign with some in-house advertising, signs along the racetrack, graphic design, social media and website advertising.

Maryland Live! Casino and Hotel, Rocky Cap Casino and Resort, Ocean Downs Casino, Hollywood Casino Perryville and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore were also among the entities that made in-kind contributions estimated at over $33,000 to the cause.

So far, Maryland has not expanded its legal gambling sector with the addition of sports betting services, unlike its neighboring states. Ever since the US Supreme Court lifted the nationwide ban imposed on the practice, allowing every state to individually decide whether to give the green light to the new form of gambling or not, some high-profile companies operating in the gambling industry and the sports world have shown interest in the possible liberalization of Maryland’s sports betting sector.

Eventually, state lawmakers decided to put the question to local voters, asking them only whether they support the legalization of sports betting. In case Maryland voters vote with a “yes”, then lawmakers would have to provide more details regarding sports betting, including who would be eligible for getting a sports betting operating license.

Earlier in 2020, Maryland lawmakers and supporters of sports betting legalization discussed the possible addition of land-based and online sports betting operations in the state. According to preliminary estimates, the addition of sports betting services to the legal gambling sector of Maryland could bring up to $20 million to the state’s coffers on an annual basis.

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