Maryland Sports Betting

The first form of legalized online gambling could be coming soon to Maryland. Maryland sports betting was approved in a November 2020 vote and Maryland will soon join the rapidly expanding US legal sports betting market.

The sports betting bill doesn’t include specifics on the scope, regulation, or taxation of Maryland’s new sports betting industry. As such, the question of whether online sports betting will be legalized is still a mystery.

If online sports betting does get the go-ahead by Maryland lawmakers, the Old Line State will likely draw some of the industry’s biggest brands to the state.

Legalized Forms Of Gambling In Maryland

Game TypeMaryland Gambling Options
Online Sports BettingLegalized November 2020, launch pending
Online CasinosNot legalized
Online PokerNot legalized
Online Horse Race BettingLegal, available on TVG, TwinSpires, BetAmerica and other apps
Online LotteryNot legalized
Daily Fantasy SportsFormally legalized in January 2017
Sweepstakes CasinosChumba Casino, LuckyLand Slots legally available
Sweepstakes Poker SitesGlobal Poker legally available

Maryland Online Sports Betting Overview

Maryland voters approved sports betting in November 2020. The public voted yes on a sports betting referendum known as Question 2, with two-thirds of the votes coming in on the “yes” side.

Specifics for Maryland’s upcoming sports betting launch, including taxation and regulation, still have to be determined. Maryland lawmakers expect to start working out those details beginning in January 2021.

A big part of that legal process is a decision on whether to include online sports betting among the state’s legal wagering options.

Maryland plays home to six land-based casinos, each of which stands as a strong candidate to apply for an online sports betting license. The state’s two racetracks, which include Pimlico Race Course (home of the Preakness Stakes), will likely want a piece of Maryland’s online sports betting industry as well.

The Washington Football Team could also apply to offer mobile sports betting, with owner Dan Snyder stating his interest in doing so.

The emerging Maryland market will almost certainly include DraftKings and FanDuel, both of which funded a pro-betting media campaign in the weeks leading up to the election. Other brands likely to enter the Maryland market include BetMGM, FOX Bet, PointsBet, and several others.

Maryland Online Gambling: The Run-Down

Online Horse Race Betting

Maryland hosts two operating horse race tracks, including one of the most hallowed US venues for the sport. Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course started operations in 1870 and annually hosts the Preakness Stakes, one of the three legs of the American Triple Crown.

The state known as the Old Line State offers legal pari-mutuel horse racing betting at both off-track betting parlors (OTB) and mobile apps.

Mobile horse race betting platforms include TVG Horse Racing, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica, the three biggest online horse race betting apps. Bettors can access online horse race wagering through several other small apps as well.

Daily Fantasy Sports

The legality of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) varies from state to state, with some states allowing DFS operators to conduct business without explicit regulations. The DFS landscape in Maryland qualified as an unregulated market until January 2017, when the state introduced a new legal outline pertaining to DFS.

Maryland’s DFS laws don’t require operators to pay licensing fees, which allows smaller DFS platforms to compete with industry giants like DraftKings and FanDuel. Players 18 and over can legally play DFS.

The state’s DFS regulations include a restriction on contests related to college sports, as well as monthly player deposit limits.

Sweepstakes Casinos

Maryland has yet to legalize online casinos, but sweepstakes casino sites offer an alternative for players looking to enjoy mobile casino games for cash prizes. Sweepstakes casino sites like Chumba Casino and LuckyLand slots offer casino games under a sweepstakes model, which legally designates the games as sweepstakes contests.

The games at sweepstakes casinos don’t use cash as currency. Instead, these platforms run play money and sweepstakes games on separate sides of the site.

The play money games use a currency called “Gold Coins”, which have no cash value. Gold Coins can be purchased, however, but they can only be used for the play money games.

Gold Coins purchases come with an amount of sweepstakes credits, known as “Sweeps Coins”, as a gift. Sweeps Coins can be used to play in the sweepstakes casino games on a platform like Chumba Casino and redeemed for cash prizes.

Sweeps Coins can also be obtained through mail-in and social media offers, with no purchase necessary.

Sweepstakes Poker

Global Poker operates legally in 49 US states, including Maryland. Using a sweepstakes model identical to its sister site, Chumba Casino, Global Poker offers both play money and sweepstakes ring games and tournaments.

The Gold Coins/Sweeps Coins purchase system used at Global Poker functions the same way it does at Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots. Gold Coins are available for purchase at any time, and these play money package purchases award an amount of Sweeps Coins as a gift.

The Sweeps Coins can then be used to play in the sweepstakes poker games at Global Poker. Global Poker draws some of the highest traffic of any US-facing online poker site, with ring games and tournaments running around the clock at a variety of Sweeps Coins stakes.

Online Casinos

Sweepstakes casinos and poker sites offer the best option for Maryland players looking for the online casino experience. Regulated online casino gaming isn’t legal in Maryland, but that could change in the future.

Two signs that could point to a future for online casino gaming in the state include Maryland’s recent approval of online sports betting. Another is Maryland’s status as a state that hosts six land-based casinos.

Like other states with regulated mobile casinos, the legalization process would include a thorough legislation process and possibly a public vote.

Online Lottery

Maryland does operate a state lottery, but the Maryland Lottery doesn’t offer legal online purchases of instant win and other lottery tickets as of yet.

The closest thing to online games offered by the Maryland Lottery comes in the form of subscriptions, which allow you to choose numbers for multi-state lotteries like Powerball and MegaMillions and play them for weeks at a time.

Maryland Mobile Gambling Guide

Legal online sportsbooks generally offer access to players via mobile app or directly through a desktop browser. Mobile app downloads offer the highest degree of freedom, as Maryland’s upcoming online sportsbooks will allow players to wager from anywhere within state borders.

The desktop versions of Maryland’s online sportsbooks offer the simplicity of just visiting a sportsbook website and wagering directly from there, however.

Maryland Sports Betting Apps For Apple iOS Devices

Apple iOS device owners can find mobile sportsbook apps at the App Store. Legal mobile sportsbooks virtually always offer their apps as a free download.

Mobile sports betting apps download to your mobile device in seconds in most cases. From there you can check out any new player promotions and sign up for a new account.

The mobile app version of an online sportsbook generally offers all of the same deposit and withdrawal options as its desktop counterpart. The companies behind these apps optimize the experience for your mobile device, putting the full-service sportsbook experience in the palm of your hand.

Maryland Sports Betting Apps For Android Devices

Most legal online sportsbooks make sure to develop a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. The functionality of a mobile sports betting app is the same for both Apple and Android users.

Unlike Apple iOS mobile apps, however, Android mobile sports betting apps must be downloaded directly from a sportsbook’s website. The Google Play store doesn’t allow downloads of real-money gambling apps, which is why the sportsbooks accommodate Android users with a way to download the app directly.

Maryland Sports Betting On Desktop

Most major desktop browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and others, allow access to online sportsbooks with no download required.

Like the mobile apps, the desktop version of an online sportsbook uses geolocation technology to determine a user’s location when wagering at the site. Only bets made from within Maryland are allowed, and players trying to wager from outside state lines will be blocked from doing so.

Online Gambling In Maryland: A Brief History

Online sports betting adds Maryland to the growing list of states to legalize online sports betting. Sports wagering isn’t the only form of legal online gambling in the Old Line State, however.

Maryland’s rich horse race betting history goes back to the mid-1700s, with explicit regulations on race wagering implemented in 1870. The state’s modern-day horse race betting laws allow pari-mutuel wagering at off-track betting (OTB) parlors, as well as online.

The three most popular online horse racing apps in the US all offer legal horse race betting in Maryland. These brands include TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica.

Maryland Daily Fantasy Sports

Maryland lawmakers jumped to the head of the curve in the effort to legalize and regulate Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites. As platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel exploded in popularity in the early 2010s, the legality of DFS came into question in several US states.

State lawmakers passed legislation exempting DFS sites from anti-gambling laws in 2012, making Maryland one of the first states to take an explicit stance on DFS. Regulations on DFS didn’t actually go into law for another five years, however.

The Maryland Comptroller’s office finally announced official DFS regulations in January 2017. Maryland doesn’t require licensing fees from DFS operators, and as such the state hosts a favorable market for smaller DFS operators.

Maryland Online Sports Betting

The passage of the sports betting referendum in November 2020 simply legalizes sport betting in Maryland. Regulations, including a decision on mobile sports betting, are expected to be determined in the state legislature throughout 2021.

If online sports betting gets the green light, Maryland bettors can likely expect a market that will include apps from DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, FOX Bet, and several other major players in the sports betting market.

Both retail and mobile sports betting is live in states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, two of the biggest sports betting markets in the US. In both of those states, more than 80 percent of overall sports betting revenue comes from online betting.

Live Gambling In Maryland

In a 2008 ballot measure, state voters approved a constitutional amendment, which allowed the construction of five slots-only casinos in Baltimore and four other counties.

A 2012 referendum proposed the construction of a sixth casino, as well as the expansion of the games allowed by the already existing casinos. That measure was approved by the public, ushering in Maryland’s current era of legal retail gambling.

Maryland hosts six retail casinos, all of which are permitted to offer slots and table games per the terms of the 2012 referendum. The 2020 sports betting bill voted into law will allow these casinos to include retail sports betting on property as well.

Live horse race betting has been conducted in Maryland since the mid-1700s. The Maryland Lottery added another form of legal gambling to the state’s offerings in 1973.

Maryland Gambling: The Facts

Is lottery legal in Maryland?Yes, the Maryland Lottery launched in 1973
Does Maryland have casinos?Yes, Maryland hosts six retail casinos
Does Maryland have racetracks?Yes, Maryland plays home to two operating racetracks, including Pimlico Race Course
Where else can you gamble in Maryland?Daily fantasy sports and sweepstakes casinos are legal in Maryland
Minimum gambling age21 or over for casinos; 18 or over for DFS, horse racing, and lottery
Who regulates gambling in Maryland?Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency

Overview Of The Maryland Casino Industry

Maryland hosts six retail casinos, with each permitted by law to offer slots, table games, and retail sports betting. These six casinos are located throughout the state, with MGM National Harbor and Live! Casino & Hotel standing as the top revenue-earning casinos in the state.

Casino NameLocation
Live! Casino & HotelHanover
Horseshoe Casino BaltimoreBaltimore
Hollywood Casino PerryvillePerryville
Ocean DownsBerlin
MGM National HarborOxon Hill
Rocky Gap Casino ResortFlintstone

Growth Of The Maryland Casino Industry

Maryland’s retail casino industry has experienced significant growth since the legalization of gambling in 2008.

A public vote in 2008 authorized the installation of slots in Baltimore, as well as four other Maryland counties. Hollywood Casino Perryville became Maryland’s first casino to open for business in September 2010.

In 2012, voters approved a ballot measure that allowed Maryland’s casinos to expand gaming offerings to include table games and poker. The referendum also authorized the construction of a sixth casino.

By 2016, all six authorized Maryland casinos were open for business. MGM National Harbor took in the highest revenue of any Maryland Casino in 2019, producing just under $707 million in earnings. Live! Casino & Hotel came in at No. 2 with just under $601 million in revenue.

Overall combined revenue for 2019 came in at $1.757 billion for Maryland’s six casinos, an annual all-time best for the state’s gaming industry according to reports from the UNLV Center For Gaming Research.

The Brands Behind Maryland’s Casino Industry

Maryland’s retail casino industry includes some of the biggest companies in the legal gambling market. MGM Resorts owns the state’s most popular casino, with the Oxon Hill-based MGM National Harbor standing as the top-earning casino in the state.

The top competitor to that No. 1 spot, Live! Casino & Hotel, is owned and operated by the Cordish Companies. Gaming and Leisure Properties (Hollywood Casino Perryville) and Caesars Entertainment (Horseshoe Casino Baltimore) also own properties in the Maryland market.

Other Ways To Gamble In Maryland

The Maryland Lottery

Established in 1973, the Maryland Lottery offers several different scratch-off instant win and draw games. Maryland also represents one of the 45 US states participating in Powerball and Mega Millions, the two biggest national lotteries.

The Maryland Lottery doesn’t offer online ticket purchases, save for an option to buy subscriptions to some national and in-state drawing games. The subscriptions allow players to pick numbers and use them in Powerball, Mega Millions, Multi-Match, or Cash4Life for sets of 13, 26, or 52 weeks.

Horse Racing

The long-standing tradition of horse racing in Maryland goes all the way back to the mid-1700s. Pari-mutuel betting was formally legalized in 1870.

Maryland is home to Pimlico Race Course, a hallowed track in the horse racing industry and home to the Preakness Stakes. The Preakness has run for nearly 150 years and represents the second leg of the American Triple Crown.

Maryland law permits both OTB wagering and online betting on horse racing. The three biggest mobile horse race betting apps (TVG, TwinSpires, BetAmerica) all legally offer wagering in Maryland.

Resources On Gambling In Maryland

Visit Maryland

WAMU 88.5 Article On Maryland Sports Betting

Maryland Manual Online (Horse Racing)

The Maryland Lottery Homepage

FindLaw – Maryland Gambling Laws

Maryland Sports Betting FAQ

Is online sports betting legal in Maryland?

Sports betting is legal as of November 2020, but the details and regulations of Maryland’s sports betting industry still have to be determined. This includes a decision on whether Maryland will legalize both in-person and online sports betting, or only allow retail sports betting.

Maryland legislators are expected to decide and vote on these issues throughout 2021.

Are online casinos legal in Maryland?

No. While the new sports betting legislation could include online sports betting, online casinos weren’t included as part of the bill.

Legal casino gaming in Maryland only includes the state’s six retail casinos for now. Any online casino site offering games in Maryland is doing so illegally.

How old do I need to be to bet on sports online in Maryland?

21. The minimum age for retail sports betting in Maryland will be set at 21, the same age required to play at one of Maryland’s legal casinos. Online sports betting, if approved, will come with the same minimum age requirement.

Some other forms of gambling in Maryland have a minimum age of 18, including horse race betting and the Maryland Lottery.

Is online sports betting safe?

Yes, if its conducted on state-regulated, legal online sports betting sites. Placing an online sports bet at a legal mobile sportsbook comes with the same level of security as playing any game inside of a Maryland casino.

Offshore, non-regulated sportsbook, on the other hand, can’t offer the same level of security. Depositing at an offshore sportsbook means risking the chance you may never see your money again.

Does BetMGM have a sports betting app in Maryland?

Not yet, but it almost certainly will at some point. MGM National Harbor operates as one of the most popular casinos in Maryland. Both the casino and the BetMGM brand are owned by MGM Resorts.

MGM National Harbor will very likely install a BetMGM retail sportsbook on property. If online sports betting is approved in Maryland, a BetMGM mobile sports betting app is almost certain to launch at some point.

Does DraftKings offer a sports betting app in Maryland?

Not yet, but it’s very likely a DraftKings Sportsbook app will launch in Maryland if online sports betting is legalized.

Depending on what Maryland lawmakers decide on for sports betting regulations, DraftKings might have to partner with an existing land-based casino, racetrack, or stadium in order to operate in Maryland.

Do I have to be a resident of Maryland to bet at a legal online sportsbook?

No. If Maryland legalizes online sports betting, the law will only require bettors to be located within state borders at the time of making a wager.

Online sports betting sites use geolocation technology to determine a user’s location when making a bet. Players attempting to bet from outside of the state will be blocked from wagering.

Who regulates gambling in Maryland?

The Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency. This organization functions as a state-level government agency tasked with overseeing and regulating Maryland’s casinos.

All of Maryland’s upcoming sports betting brands will fall under the jurisdiction of the Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency as well.

When did Maryland legalize casinos?

State voters approved the construction of five slots-only casinos on a 2008 ballot. A 2012 referendum approved casinos to expand into table games and poker. Sports betting was approved in November 2020.

How do I cash out from an online sportsbook?

Legal mobile sportsbooks offer several convenient ways to withdraw funds after you win. Some of these methods include PayPal, ACH/eCheck, credit/debit cards, Play+ Prepaid, and casino cage cash deposits/withdrawals.

About the Author

Geoff Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.