Maryland Lawmaker Defers Online Casino Bill to 2026

Maryland Sen. Ron Watson announced his decision not to introduce a bill for online casino legalization in 2025. Despite Maryland’s proximity to passing such legislation in 2024, Watson emphasized the necessity of allowing more time for deliberation before revisiting the issue.

Sen. Watson Advocates for Patient Approach to Maryland Online Casino Legalization

Sen. Watson explained to PlayUSA that he could potentially introduce the bill the following year, but he pointed out that it would not progress until 2026. He also noted that even if they managed to pass the bill, its implementation would not occur. He underlined the importance of thorough consideration to ensure the successful integration of online casino gaming into Maryland’s economic landscape.

The recent legislative session in Maryland concluded without decisive action on online casinos, with the Senate opting not to pursue the matter further. The House, however, signaled its support by including internet gaming in its budget proposal, indicative of differing perspectives within the state legislature.

Watson’s decision not to file a bill in 2025 stems from a desire to avoid prolonging the debate unnecessarily. He remarked that they had conducted their due diligence and comprehended the revenues and challenges involved. He added that they will allow it to mature, aiming to present a more robust bill when it is reintroduced in the future.

Maryland Legislators Contemplate Pause on Online Casino Legislation Until 2026

Despite Watson’s stance, there remains the possibility of other lawmakers, such as Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, introducing online casino legislation in the upcoming session. Nevertheless, Maryland appears poised to take a hiatus from the contentious issue, with a view to resuming discussions in 2026.

The proposal for online casino legalization in Maryland has encountered various obstacles, including concerns over potential impacts on problem gambling and existing brick-and-mortar casinos. Watson remains optimistic, however, asserting that with time and data, these concerns may diminish.

Watson emphasized the importance of not lagging behind in iGaming. He stressed that Maryland must be proactive if it intends to maintain and enhance current industry revenues. He highlighted the necessity for Maryland to adjust to changing trends in the gaming sector to stay competitive.

In the interim, Watson plans to collaborate with colleagues to address lingering apprehensions and refine the proposed legislation. With an eye toward the future, he remains confident in the eventual legalization of online casinos in Maryland.

As the debate unfolds, the trajectory of online casino legislation in Maryland reflects the complex interplay between economic opportunity, regulatory oversight, and public welfare. While the issue remains tabled for now, its resurgence in 2026 may herald a new chapter in Maryland’s gaming landscape.