Gov. Martin O’Malley vetoed plans to launch an online lottery service this year. This caused the agency to fight to prevent General Assembly legislation which would strip away some of its regulatory authority.
The legalization of online lottery ticket sales may be a way to curb the first year-over-year decrease in Maryland lottery ticket sales. Lottery officials previously stated that taking sales to the Internet would be critical to capturing the younger generation of potential would-be gamblers. Friday, a lawmaker in the House of Delegates said there is a lot of work to be done before scratch-offs would be able to be purchased online.
“I think there’s a lot of unanswered questions,” said Del. Eric G. Luedtke, chairman of the Finance Resources Subcommittee. “You’ve seen other states race to get into it. A lot of the opposition [in Maryland] just came from traditional lottery retailers that don’t want the competition. For me, the biggest unanswered question is, how do you prevent underage players? I’m not entirely sure the technological infrastructure is there.” “Everything’s going online eventually,” Luedtke said. “It might be something we have to do to continue getting revenues.”
Other states in the US, such as Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are already on board with regards to online gambling. Some Maryland casinos are waiting for the law to catch up so they can get on board as well. The states most successful casino, Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills Mall, already offers its players an online casino where they can go to play free games.
“It’ll happen. It’ll be two years or three years,” said James Karmel, a Hartford Community College associate professor who studies the gambling industry. “Whatever can be done to capture the younger generation. … I’m interested in the effect online gambling is going to have on physical casinos.”
Luedtke, D-Montgomery, also stated online gambling was something lawmakers would have to seriously consider before too long — especially if lottery revenue continues to diminish.
States with uncertain online gambling futures should expect to see more pressure as other states enter the online gambling market. With the Maryland lottery sales continuing to decline, Maryland can expect to be one of those states feeling a bit more of that pressure.
With free games already being offered in an online casino format to players of Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills Mall there is already interest being shown in the online gambling arena. Maryland should be added to the list of states to watch with regards to near future changes taking place in its online gambling legislation.