With Gaming Adding $1 Billion to MD Coffers, Industry Asks to Add Sports Betting

Senator Ed DeGrange, District 32, Anne Arundel County, talks gaming in Maryland. Photo: Bill White

On June 22nd, the American Gaming Association held a panel discussion on gaming policy at Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Maryland. Moderated by Don Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the panel discussion touched on gaming’s impact on education and employment, as well as the future of gaming in the region.

“To break it into three parts: It’s jobs, it’s taxes, and schools,” said Rob Norton, General Manager of Live! Hotel & Casino. “We will fall just shy of a billion dollars paid by this industry every year into the coffers of the State of Maryland, which will mostly fund public education.” So far, more than $1 billion of revenues paid by casinos in the State of Maryland has gone towards public education.

The panel discussion also focused on employment opportunities at the casino and in the gaming industry in general. Ashley Pointer, who has been working with Live! Casino & Hotel since its opening was highlighted as an example of the positive employment opportunities in the industry. Speaking on the panel, Pointer discussed her rise from working in valet parking to becoming Director of Finance for the casino. “My managers have been there for me,” she said, “and I would not be where I am today without that help.”

Finally, the conversation turned towards sports betting. Geoff Freeman, President of the American Gaming Association, discussed a federal prohibition on sports betting that has been in place since 1992, saying that it hasn’t worked. “Let’s empower those who have made these massive investments here in the State of Maryland – like Maryland Live! – to begin to do this in a highly regulated fashion,” Freeman said. Norton agreed, saying that sports betting would provide yet another reason for patrons to attend venues such as Live! Casino & Hotel.

The conversation on sports gaming was initiated by Delegate Frank Turner, who indicated that he was open to the issue. Senator Ed DeGrange spoke about the issue as well, saying that sports gaming already takes place illegally in Maryland. If sports gaming was legalized, the Senator argued, casinos would be an ideal venue for it, given the strong regulations already applied to Maryland casinos.

The full press conference can be seen here.

Bill White is an Annapolis resident and works in government relations.

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