MARYLAND (FOX 5 DC) - More than 45 million Americans plan to bet on the 2021 NFL season, according to research released Tuesday by the American Gaming Association (AGA). This is a 36 percent rise compared to last year.
The sharp rise is being attributed to the expansion of legal sports betting options and increased enthusiasm for the upcoming season.
This Sunday, the Washington Football Team will start its season at home in Landover, but while fans in Virginia and DC will be able to place legal bets on the game in the comfort of their own homes, Maryland itself still doesn’t have its sports gaming up and running.
The General Assembly passed the bill and the Governor signed it, making it a law, but Maryland regulators are still working on writing the rules.
The Maryland Lottery Commission is crafting rules on who can and can’t apply for gaming licenses, but since the bill was signed into law, that work only got started this summer.
Bruce Depoynt, a columnist for the news site "Maryland Matters," has been looking into this and says those rules are critical to make sure winners get paid.
"As soon as the game is over those betters who won are going to want to get paid right away. Technologically, that’s a very heavy lift for any company that’s operating a sportsbook, and since many of the companies stepping forward to do this in Maryland are new, it just raises the obligation of part of the state regulators even more," Depoynt said.
When the bill was written, seventeen places in Maryland were named as sports gaming sites. They include casinos like MGM National Harbor, Live Casino, the Horseshoe and Hollywood.
Gaming is also planned for the state’s three pro stadiums–at Fed Ex, Camden Yards, and M&T Stadium where the Ravens plan. But many fans FOX 5 spoke to say they are disappointed that sports gaming isn’t up and running here in time for the season, They think Maryland is losing out to other states.
"We need to get going because the stadium is here, the money is here," one Maryland resident told FOX 5. "We’ve got the traffic, we got everything and we have the benefits and we should get everything from it. Maryland come on!"
"I’d probably just keep watching the same way I was always doing, but I think for many people it’s a great option for football. A lot of guys are into it and if that’s your thing, hey, get ready to place a bet," another resident said.
About two dozen states already allow sports gaming and they have their systems up and running--that includes Virginia and Maryland. That means that while both of those jurisdictions stand to make money this Sunday betting on the football game that’s going to be played in Maryland. Maryland itself won’t see any of that gambling revenue.