For fans of sports betting in Maryland, it is completely legal and open – and the state boasts legal sports betting providers such as BetMGM Sportsbook, the first to open in December 2021.
Swiftly following – just one day later was Live! Casino and Hotel, and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. One week later came the TwinSpires Sportsbook at Ocean Downs Casino – then, just two days before Christmas came a sportsbook offering from Hollywood Casino.
However – online sports betting is not quite here just yet – and, according to the Director of MLGCA, John Martin, this won’t be available until at least the fall of 2022.
Maryland Sports Betting: Now
- 10th January 2022: The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) announced that since the first Maryland Sports Betting venue opened on December 3rd, Maryland retail sports betting had taken over $16 million in bets.
- 19th January 19 2022: There is still no clear timeline for online sports betting and mobile betting yet – due to the pending disparity study.
- 19th January 2022: The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission posted onto its website a ‘Survey Regarding the Issuance of Class B-1, B-2 and Mobile Sports Wagering Licenses’ to its website. This is to get feedback from industry stakeholders regarding online sports betting in Maryland. There is an 18th February deadline for the survey.
- 4th February 2022: Despite the hope for online sports betting, only retail sports betting is legal, so Super Bowl fans still have to bet in person.
- 10th February 2022: It was announced that legal sports betting sites in Maryland received over $32.5 million in bets throughout January – its first full month. This was $2.3 in taxable revenue and around $650,000 paid in tax.
- 16th February 2022: There was a Sports wagering Application Review Commission meeting to discuss updates on the January survey – but no action was taken and the online sports betting launch date is still yet unknown.
Is Sports Betting Legal in Maryland?
Yes, in-person sports betting in Maryland is legal, and the first retail sportsbook – BetMGM, opened on 3rd December 2021 after voters approved making sports betting legal in Maryland in November 2020. State Legislators then passed a bill legalizing and facilitating sports betting in April 2021. However, mobile sports betting is still some way away, not expected until the latter part of 2022.
As such, right now, there aren’t any options for legal sports betting online in Maryland – and thus it is currently only illegal offshore online sports betting sites are currently available in the state.
The Status of Sports Betting in Maryland
Sports betting in Maryland, through legal means, is available to Maryland bettors – but only in-person sports betting. In November 2020, it was approved by both state voters and state legislators.
Voters initially approved sports wagering – and thus gave the legislature the opportunity to work out how they can properly implement it in Maryland. Legislation that was signed into law by the state Governor was effected at the start of July, but it was not launched in time for the start of the NFL season.
It wasn’t until December 2021 that retail sports betting was officially launched, with the first sportsbook in the state.
The Maryland Sports Betting Law
Not wanting to do anything by half, the new sports betting law in Maryland looks set to create one of the United States’ most competitive gambling environments.
As such, state legislators approved a structure that includes two types of gambling licenses…
- A Class A License: There have been 10 licenses reserved for the state’s six casinos, three pro sports teams and the Maryland Jockey Club (which includes Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park). There has also been dialog regarding possible future licenses for potential NHL, NBA and MLS sports teams.
- A Class B License: There are another 30 licenses for gambling businesses in Maryland with physical premises that will be up for bids. There will be seven additional Class B licenses for the Maryland State Fairgrounds, two commercial bingo halls and four off-track betting parlors.
Businesses with either license will then be able to apply for mobile betting licenses. In December 2025, the state will reassess whether or not more licenses are required.
Maryland Online Sports Betting Launch
As it stands, it seems that online sports betting in Maryland won’t be launching until the start of the 2022 NFL season – and that’s if we’re lucky.
However, when mobile sports betting is available, there looks set to be numerous sports betting sites that will be available to them. In total, there will be the potential for 60 mobile licenses, which would attract some of the biggest names in the industry including sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuels. Moreover, Barstool Sportsbook looks a cert to open its betting app in Maryland as the site’s parent company, Penn Nation, purchased a casino in the state at the end of 2020, perfectly opening the door for the Barstool sportsbook.
Then, both FanDuel and DraftKings offered financial resources in support of MD sports betting in Maryland in 2020. As such, it goes without saying that both of these operators would want to be a part of the market. Also, PointsBet has partnered with the Riverboat on the Potomac, which is an off-track betting facility in Colonial Beach, VA. However, because the Potomac is part of Maryland, this ITBB is officially considered to be in MD.
Maryland Sports Betting Bills: 2021
The official launch of retail sports betting in Maryland came in December, with the opening of MGM National Harbor.
This came after HB 940, passed in April 2021, which ended years of discussion about sports betting in the state.
With voter backing having already been secured, it was only needed for legislators to build the structure of the Maryland betting market.
The 2020 session started with bills SB 4 and SB58 on the table, closely followed by HB 224, setting out the creation of 16 mobile licenses for online sports betting in Maryland.
However, the meat was stripped off the bone of the bill by legislators who chose to hand over the question of legal sports betting in Maryland to voters.
There were attempts to legal sports betting in Maryland via the state lottery, but this never came to pass. It was the opinion by the State Attorney General that it would require voter approval that put the brakes on making it a constitutional question.
Hopes were high that Maryland would legalize sports betting before other states after PASPA was overturned.
H 1014 bill easily cleared the state House – and this would have sent legal sports betting in Maryland to the ballet, via a referendum. However, it petered out in the Senate with no further action.
The H 989 bill paved the way for legal sports betting in Maryland before it was even a possibility in the US> The bill was created to build a task force that would be tasked with studying the implementation of sports betting in the state.
Maryland Vs Virginia and Washington D.C.?
This area, known as the DMV area, offers legal sports betting in each of the jurisdictions. However, where Maryland looks similar to Virginia, Washington D.C. is a little messy.
As such, when mobile sports betting is legal in both Maryland and Virginia, the betting markets and betting apps should be very similar.
Both of these states allow casinos to participate. However, Virginia is still in the process of building the casinos. Meanwhile, license fees and tax rates are competitive with other markets. Maryland’s laws will potentially give more operators the opportunity to take part.
Washington D.C., however, is having a bit of a sports betting disaster. The state council opted to restrict online sports betting to just one app, that was run by the DC Lottery. The council chose to give the contract over to the state lottery provider, Intralot, as opposed to making use of a competitive bid process. Intralot then built the GambletDC app which has been slated for only offering inferior markets and underwhelming odds and offers.
As such, the temporary retail sportsbook inside Downtown DC’s Capital One Arena continues to outperform GambetDC month after month. A new option then came to light, after BetMGM partnered with the Washington Nationals and launched its geofenced app.
Legal Betting in Maryland
Only retail sportsbooks are available in Maryland right now, if you exclude horse racing online betting and daily fantasy sports betting. Even this is still reasonably new, with the first having officially launched on 9th December 2021. Maryland sports betting fans will have to wait a while before they make mobile sports betting legal!
There are, however, illegal offshore sports betting sites that can be accessed in Maryland. Unfortunately, these are not licensed by any US jurisdiction and do not operate legally within the country.
As such, this lack of protection means that you can’t trust the sites to pay out your winnings – and could even disappear with your deposits. The only safe and trusted way to bet on sports in Maryland is through a licensed sports betting operator.
Horse Racing in Maryland
Betting on horse racing in Maryland is completely legal and is overseen and regulated by the Maryland Racing Commission – and online pari-mutuel betting is allowed on sites including TwinSpires and TV.
Maryland horse racing fans will be aware that the state is home to one of the most prestigious horse races in the world – the Preakness Stakes.
The Preakness Course has been run at the Pimlico Race Course since it was first introduced in 1873 and is the middle leg of the Triple Crown. Undoubtedly, a Kentucky Derby win is the biggest achievement, but should the same horse win the Preakness as well, it is in the running to be a Triple Crown contender.
The other state racetracks are Laurel Park and Timonium at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, which could both potentially have sports betting and online sportsbooks.
Steeplechase racing is also famous in the state – going back for more than 100 years. The only US steeplechase event with Parimutuel betting is the Fair Hill Races.
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Maryland
Let’s take a look at the most popular sports to bet on in Maryland… with no real shock that it’s the NFL that takes the title!
Maryland NFL Betting
NFL bettors in Maryland have two state pro teams to follow – the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Football Team (Washington Redskins). The opportunity to allow betting at team facilities has become a part of the fight for the Redskins between Virginia and Maryland.
Maryland MLB Betting
Most MLB betting fans will follow the Baltimore Orioles. However, as they lie adjacent to Washington D.C. Maryland sports fans often pay a lot of attention towards the US capitol – and this is certainly true of the Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champion.
Maryland NBA and NHL Betting
As NBA bettors and NHL bettors know, the state doesn’t have any professional sports teams in these sports. As such, most follow the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards… who started out in Maryland as the Baltimore Bullets.
Maryland NCAA Betting
In college sports, the popular basketball team for state fans is the Maryland Terrapins. There is also an Army-Navy football rivalry game that gets a lot of betting interest.
Daily Fantasy Sports in Maryland
Maryland has the honor of being the first state to specifically legalize DFS back in 2012 – which was well before DFS was even a thing. It was in 2017 that Maryland implemented regulations to oversee the industry. The following year, a law was passed making the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission responsible for DFS regulations.
As such, both FanDuel and DraftKings operate DFS sites in the state. These sites are open to anyone over 18 and are not able to offer DFS competitions on college sports.
Maryland Sports Betting Timeline
Maryland made a move to be first out of the gates regarding sports betting, even before PASPA was overturned.
Despite what happened in 2020, the House overwhelmingly passed a Maryland sports betting bill that would have put this issue in voters’ hands years ago. This bill, however, didn’t gain traction in the state Senate.
In 2019, the state legislature attempted to maneuver around the requirement for a constitutional amendment at the ballot box.
Back in 2007, voters in Maryland approved measures that would require commercial gambling to be voted through via a ballot.
However, the Maryland Lottery doesn’t fall under that requirement, so lawmakers attempted to force a bill that would legalize sports betting at racetracks and lottery retailers.
However, this would have been detrimental to state casinos, which made it unpopular and unlikely.
As the 2019 session ended, state Attorney General, Brian Frosh confirmed that sports betting would require voter approval, which set the stage for the efforts in 2020.
This was a big year for Maryland sports betting. After two failed attempts, the state finally took it seriously – and it was finally approved by voters in November 2020.
Neighbor states, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Washington DC had already made sports betting legal and Maryland was playing catch up.
The state held a few early hearings in the matter, with the owner of the Washington Football Team, Daniel Snyder, lobbying for a bill that would include team facilities.
In March that year, it seemed as though sports betting in Maryland was a cert after the Senate passed the legislation unanimously – sending out a strong message.
However, the following week saw the House remove the sports betting operational details, turning the proposed bill into a simple ballot referendum. Reluctantly, the Senate concurred with this decision. It was later explained that the House made this decision because of concerns regarding inclusion.
After a disparity study that was ordered in the bill, he wanted to look at ways that women and minority-owned businesses would be able to participate in sports betting.
Senator Craig Zucker, the bill sponsor, believed that these differences could have been worked out if the pandemic hadn’t cut the session short.
This bill would have legalized sports betting at the six state casinos, the three racetracks and possibly the Redskins stadium and practice grounds. This new legislation would set high license fees, between $1.5 to $2.5 million and a tax rate of 20% including 1% towards the Minority Business Enterprise program.
A Maryland sports betting bill was approved by legislators that would create the structure of the betting market after it was approved in November 2020. The bill was signed in May by Governor Larry Hogan.
This new bill, which was approved by both chambers created a two-tiered model, with Class A and B licenses available. Class A licenses are for casinos and larger bodies, while Class B licenses are for smaller businesses. The legislation would also include up to 60 online mobile licenses.
Retail sportsbooks in Maryland started opening their doors in December that year, although online sports betting laws were still not confirmed – and unlikely to be available until fall 2020.
Maryland Sports Betting FAQ
Who Oversees Sports Betting in Maryland?
Sports betting in Maryland is regulated and controlled by the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. However, state legislators have called for a Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to oversee who will be given Class B and mobile betting licenses.
Is Mobile Sports Betting Allowed?
Yes, but not yet. The new state laws will allow for auto 60 mobile licenses in the state. But this doesn’t look set to come into fruition until later this year. You won’t need to be a resident of Maryland to bet on the mobile sportsbooks, but you will need to be situated within state lines.
Are Offshore Sportsbooks Legal?
No, any legal sportsbook needs to be licensed at state level – so any sportsbetting site that claims to legally accept US players will not be operating within the US laws and guidelines.
As such it is illegal for those sites to accept wagers from any US citizen – and anyone who does wager on these sites will not be protected by law. We would only recommend betting at a legal Maryland regulated sports betting site.