Both houses of the Maryland General Assembly reportedly passed proposed legislation yesterday that would allow local voters to decide via a November referendum whether the state should legalize sportsbetting.

According to a Wednesday report from The Baltimore Sun newspaper, the measure seeks voter consent to award an unspecified number of successful candidate operators with licenses to open land-based and online sportsbooks although it does not yet specifically lay out who would be able to apply.

Gubernatorial necessity:

The newspaper reported that the proposal, which would also seek to bring mobile sportsbetting to ‘The Old Line State,’ is now headed to the desk of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan with its passage coming a little over two weeks after legislators in neighboring Virginia ratified a similar proposition.

Preceding proposition:

The Baltimore Sun reported that the proposed Maryland legislation is a stripped-down version of an earlier proposal that was due to ask voters to grant sportsbetting licenses to every one of the state’s casinos and thoroughbred horseracing tracks as well as to the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins franchises of the National Football League (NFL).

Inequality investigation:

However, this original measure was reportedly altered with the help of Maryland House of Delegates member Nick Mosby so as to include a provision that would require legislators to utilize a ‘disparity study’ when awarding any sportsbetting licenses. The Democratic legislator purportedly told the newspaper that this stipulation will help to stop only already rich entities from benefitting and ensure that racial minorities are more fairly represented.

Mosby reportedly told the newspaper…

“It just compounded the concentration of wealth by limiting competition. They were literally going to give licenses to individuals who are already seated around the table.”