Maryland Home Poker Games Legal From Oct. 1st 2016

Lawmakers in Maryland have voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing poker games to be legally hosted at the homes’ of state residents, a ‘crime’ that previously carried a potential fine of $1,000, and up to one year in prison. On Thursday, the bill (HB 127) sailed through both the House and the Senate before then being signed into law by the Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan.
In February, the writing was on the wall for the antiquated law after the bill’s sponsor, Kirill Reznik (photo), received the full backing of the House. Between then and now, some minor adjustments have been made to HB 127 in order to agree a compromise, including raising the amount of combined player money that can be brought to the poker table to $1,000. The previous total suggested had been $500, although Reznik had initially sought an upper limit of at least $2,000.
The governor’s official signing of the bill took place on Thursday, with HB 127 now set to becomes effective starting October 1st, 2016. Nationwide poker advocacy organization, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), also attended the historical event, and later tweeted the following message:
“Busy day in Annapolis. Wish they were all here for the #poker bill signing!. Thank you @delegatereznik for all your hard work and for allowing us to see the home #poker game bill become law.”
Maryland has been expanding its gambling industry over the past few years, and in 2008 allowed slot machines to be offered at  five privately owned venues, before in 2010 opening up the state’s first casino, with table games then added in 2012. The Free State’s casino industry subsequently generated revenues of $1.1 billion in 2015, up by 8.4% from 2014’s total. Maryland five casino subsequently reported revenues of $103.9 million in April, marking the first time that earnings have passed the $100 million mark. As Maryland Lottery Director Gordon Medenica commented at the time:
“This is another great milestone for Maryland’s casinos. We’re looking forward to continued growth of the state’s casino industry, and of course, that means more funding for important state programs.”

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