A new proposal filed last week by two Republicans in Maryland seeks to bring slot machines at the Baltimore–Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).
New Bill Proposes to Bring Slots to the BWI Airport
On Thursday last week, Delegates Susan Krebs and Ric Metzgar, both Republicans, filed House Bill 733 that proposes to bring slot machines to BWI airport. The new proposal filed with the Ways and Means Committee is expected to be heard later this month. The bill calls for the allocation of some 3,000 slot machines within the “terminal building and surrounding area within the security perimeter” of the BWI airport.
If the new proposal receives the approval of lawmakers, the next step would be license applications. According to the bill, those applications must be submitted no later than April 15, 2024. But besides the approval of lawmakers, Maryland residents would also need to vote for or against House Bill 733.
The idea to introduce slots to the airport isn’t new in Maryland. In fact, similar bills proposed by lawmakers in the state date back a decade, but so far none have succeeded. While Maryland is still in the process of trying to introduce slots to the BWI airport, Nevada has already completed that goal. Currently, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport features some 250 slot machines. On the other hand, Harry Reid International Airport, formerly known as McCarran International Airport, has approximately 1,400 slot machines.
Gambling Activities Continue to Boost the State’s Coffers
Considering that it may take some time for slots to appear at the BWI airport, there are still plenty of activities available for gamblers in Maryland. Last year in May, the state legalized sports betting. Consequently, the state launched its market in December, but the activity remains restricted to land-based venues. In other words, currently, sports fans in the state cannot place bets on sports online.
Besides sports betting, the state offers lottery, horse racing, and casino gambling. All those gambling activities are raising valuable revenue in the form of taxes. For example, sports betting contributes with 15% taxes on betting revenue and license fees that vary depending on the type of license.
“I think it is a great opportunity for income for the state of Maryland for many, many years to come.”
According to Metzgar, who was recently interviewed by WBAL TV, slots at the airport represent an income opportunity that will raise money for the state for years to come. He explained that people with delayed flights can use those slots, which presents “an opportunity for us to get outside money.” Although this sounds like a lucrative opportunity, the Maryland Aviation Administration revealed that it may fit only 1,000 and not 3,000 slots as per the lawmakers’ proposal.