Maryland has embraced gambling in the past decade with positive results. Sports betting appears on the horizon. Online gambling is still a work in progress.
Maryland’s first Las Vegas-style casino opened in 2010. The state now has six casinos that combined to generate more than $1.75 billion in total revenue in 2019, a slight increase from the previous year. Sports betting may soon be joining the state’s gambling landscape. State lawmakers recently passed legislation that places the issue before voters in a November 2020 referendum.
Daily Fantasy Sports is offered by all the major operators in Maryland and pari-mutuel wagering is allowed at the state’s horse tracks and online. Online casino gambling is not legal, but that could change in the future since several neighboring states already offer it.
In the meantime, Maryland slot and table game bettors can play for amusement or prizes at social casinos. Online gambling for real money at offshore-based sites is risky and never recommended.
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Online casino gambling is not legal in Maryland. What is available is a growing number of social casinos such as WinStar, LuckyLand and Chumba, many of which allow players to use virtual currency to win prizes through “sweepstakes.” Social casinos offer slots and a variety of casino games such as blackjack and roulette through their websites or Facebook apps. Free virtual coins are offered just for signing up, with several ways to receive additional coins. Gambling.com’s top-rated social casinos are listed above.
Online and mobile betting is legal in Maryland for pari-mutuel wagering and may soon be legal for sports gambling. Lawmakers are drafting the final sports betting bill. Voters would need to approve a sports betting referendum in November.
There is no specific timetable for online casino gambling legislation, with the possibility of sports betting currently front and center.
Still, it’s not far-fetched to think Maryland lawmakers may embrace online gambling and its potential tax revenue in the not-too-distant future. Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania all offer online casino gaming and yet another neighboring state, West Virginia, has legalized it. The state will likely want to keep Maryland players – and the revenue – closer to home.
Maryland has six land-based casinos, with two of them - MGM National Harbor and Live! Casino & Hotel - combining to capture nearly 75% of the state’s market share in 2019. The complete list:
|Casino||City||Address||Hours of Operation|
|Hollywood Casino Perryville||Perryville||1201 Chesapeake Overlook Parkway||24 hours|
|Horseshoe Casino Baltimore||Baltimore||11525 Russell Street||24 hours|
|Live! Casino & Hotel||Hanover||7002 Arundel Mills Circle||24 hours|
|MGM National Harbor||Oxon Hill||101 MGM National Avenue||24 hours|
|Ocean Downs||Berlin||10218 Racetrack Road||Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m.-4 a.m.; Friday: 8 a.m.-midnight; Saturday-Sunday: Open 24 hours|
|Rocky Gap Casino Resort||Flintstone||16701 Lakeview Road NE||24 hours|
Address: 1201 Chesapeake Overlook Parkway, Perryville
Amenities: First Maryland casino to open in 2010. More than 800 slots, 22 table games, poker room. Located about 40 miles north of Baltimore.
Address: 11525 Russell Street, Baltimore
Amenities: More than 2,200 slots, 153 table games, WSOP Poker Room (including satellite tournament into Main Event), off-track betting facility. Less than one mile to Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium.
Address: 7002 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover
Amenities: State’s largest casino with nearly 4,000 slots, more than 200 table games, poker room (annual stop on World Poker Tour). Located about 15 miles from Baltimore, 25 miles from Washington D.C.
Address: 101 MGM National Avenue, Oxon Hill
Amenities: State’s leading revenue producer with 40% share of market. More than 3,000 slots and 150 table games, poker room with 46 tables, 3,000-seat theater. Closest Maryland casino to Washington D.C. (11 miles).
Address: 10218 Racetrack Road, Berlin
Amenities: Casino and harness racing track (live racing June-September) owned and operated by Churchill Downs Inc. More than 900 slot machines, 10 table games. Located six miles from Ocean City on Maryland’s southeast coast.
Address: 16701 Lakeview Road NE, Flintstone
Amenities: More than 600 slot machines, 18 table games, golf course (Jack Nicklaus design). Located in Western Maryland’s Rocky Gap State Park, a public recreation area with 3,000 acres, seven miles from Cumberland, 50 miles from West Virginia’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
If Maryland legalizes online casino gambling , the transition to digital would be seamless for several of the state’s casinos operators.
For example, MGM Resorts owns MGM National Harbor and Caesars Entertainment owns Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. Both MGM and Caesars are experienced online operators in other states. Hollywood Casino Perryville is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties, which leases many of its casinos to Penn National Gaming, which also has multiple online operations.
Casino apps would be an integral part of any Maryland online casino. The apps allow bettors to place wagers on their mobile devices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the state. In states where online casinos are legal, the apps are generally available on both Android and iOS and can be downloaded for free on the casino’s website or the App Store.
If online legal sports betting is approved in Maryland, all of the online operators will be offering mobile apps. In neighboring states, up to 80% or more of all legal sports bets are wagered online or through mobile apps.
The same games found in land-based Maryland casinos would likely be offered online. Among them:
Online Poker: Neighboring Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware offer online poker, with the latter two states part of an agreement (which Maryland and other states could potentially join) that allows them to pool players with Nevada. As with land-based poker rooms, No-limit Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular online poker game.
Lottery: The Maryland Lottery began in 1973. While individual lottery tickets cannot be purchased online, the state lottery offers a form of online lottery play through subscriptions. Sign up for an account and Maryland residents can play the same numbers in each drawing for 13, 26 or 52 weeks. Maryland also participates in multi-state jackpot games such as Powerball and Mega Millions.
Online Slots: Just as land-based casinos offer thousands of slot games, so do online casinos. In addition to the popular traditional and progressive jackpot slots, new online slot games include animation and 3D imaging.
Online Blackjack: Blackjack is the most popular table game. Among the advantages of playing online blackjack are more varieties to choose from, a wider range of stakes, and lower minimums.
Roulette: Online roulette is identical to traditional roulette, with an electronic random number generator replacing the physical wheel.
Live Dealer: Popular, more social alternative in which casino games are dealt by a live dealer from a studio and streamed to your computer or mobile device. Bets are placed on an electronic wagering interface. Provides more of a live casino experience. The availability of live dealer games varies widely by state, with some offering a more robust selection that others.
States that allow online and mobile casino games offer several methods to deposit and withdraw from your account. Maryland would likely offer similar payment options, including:
PayPal: E-wallet option that allows you to create an account with a credit card or through a bank account. Transactions are processed quickly with low fees. Other popular e-wallets are Neteller and Skrill.
Prepaid card: Play+ is one of the most popular prepaid cards and is often available to register for via a link on your casino operator’s website. Can be used for deposits and withdrawals.
Credit/debit card: Widespread availability makes credit and debit cards the most convenient choice for deposits, which can be processed almost instantly. Some financial institutions are still wrongly blocking legal casino transactions. Also, watch out for high fees and be aware that credit/debit card withdrawals are often not permitted.
ACH/bank transfer: Basically an electronic check with a digital connection established from your bank account to online gambling account. Works well for deposits and withdrawals, but transactions can take several days to process.
PayNearMe: Pay with cash at a Maryland 7-Eleven, Family Dollar or CVS Pharmacy, with the money transferred to your online account through a barcode. A popular deposit option with no credit card or bank information needed.
One of the advantages of online casino gaming is a selection of bonus offers not available at physical casinos. These bonuses are standard fare for online casinos, which are competing to sign up new players. The most popular bonus offers in other states:
No deposit bonus: A welcome bonus placed into your account just for signing up. To prevent you from just withdrawing the money, bettors must usually risk it at least once before it can be redeemed.
Deposit match: Make a deposit and the online operator will match that amount up to 100% or more. So if you deposit $100, the operator will match that $100. You will have to risk the bonus money a specified number of times before it can be unlocked. As with all bonuses, evrey bettor should be sure to read the terms and conditions on the casino site.
Free spins bonus: Offered to players to test different slot games and win real money, sometimes without a deposit. Free spins also have set terms and conditions, including often playthrough requirements for money won through the free spins.
Loyalty rewards: All online casinos offer rewards programs in which players accumulate points that can be redeemed for cash or prizes. Generally, the amount of points earned is determined by the amounts wagered and frequency of play.
Maryland has lurched back and forth between prohibition and legislation in its history but now seems to be seeking a generally progressive loosening of gambling restrictions. Lawmakers have not been blind in realizing how much potential revenue has been lost to neighboring states from Maryland gamblers who have had no option but to travel elsewhere to get their sports gambling or online gaming fix.
Changes to Maryland gambling law have made it possible to legally play casino games at six casinos, four of which also offer live poker rooms. Parimutuel betting on horse races is allowed as well, as are lottery games and bingo.
And more is coming. Gov. Larry Hogan in May 2020 let a sports betting bill become law without his signature, meaning residents of the state will vote in a November referendum on whether sports gambling, including online, will be legal in Maryland.
However, as with so many other states, online gambling in Maryland is a different situation. According to the wording of the state’s statutes, online casinos and poker sites are both illegal and not part of this potential gambling expansion.
Maryland voters to decide legality of sports betting.
State lawmakers pass stripped-down sports betting referendum bill that allows voters to decide the issue in November. Bill doesn’t specify how sports wagering will operate and if online and mobile wagering will be permitted..
MGM National Harbor, the sixth and newest Maryland casino, opens and quickly becomes the state’s leader in total betting revenue.
State statute legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports games.
Maryland voters approve Las Vegas-style casinos in statewide constitutional referendum. Hollywood Casino Perryville is the state’s first casino to open in 2010.
Maryland Lottery begins operation.
Maryland lawmakers pass a bill phasing out slot machines over five-year period.
Slot machines are legalized by local bills in Anne Arundel County and later in the decade by four other counties.
Pimlico Race Course opens, the second-oldest horse track in the nation. Three years later, the Baltimore track begins hosting the Preakness, second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Sports betting continues to inch closer in Maryland and will become legal if voters approve a November 2020 referendum. The question to voters is clear and straightforward - unlike in Colorado where sports betting was proposed as a tax increase (but narrowly approved anyway) - and asks: “Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports event betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education.’’
Still to be determined is how state lawmakers will implement sports betting if the referendum passes. The state Senate approved legislation that permitted online and mobile sports betting and in-person wagering at the state’s casinos and horse tracks. But the House, citing the bill’s lack of diversity and built-in advantage to existing gambling establishments, removed the details on licensing, fees and format. The The stripped-down format passed, which at least ensured the referendum would be placed on the 2020 ballot. Gov. Larry Hogan allowed the referendum to go forward by taking no action - he neither signed nor vetoed the bill.
If the referendum passes in November, an educated guess is sports betting will launch in time for the beginning of the 2021 NFL season or perhaps a little sooner.
Keep in mind that if voters approve, state lawmakers still must fashion a sports betting bill that will determine how sports gambling will be implemented, a tax structure, and online and mobile components of the law. A digital component seems likely considering at neighboring New Jersey sportsbooks nearly 83% of all sports wagers are placed online.
In 2012, Maryland enacted legislation to legalize daily fantasy sports games, specifically exempting fantasy competitions from other gambling prohibitions.
Four years later, the state’s attorney general issued an opinion questioning the statute’s legality and whether DFS should be subject to a voter referendum. In January 2017, the state comptroller implemented rules and regulations that allowed DFS to continue.
That will depend on how state lawmakers decide to shape the bill, how many online partnerships will be permitted, and the state’s sports betting tax structure.
It’s likely that all of the state’s casinos and horse tracks will apply for a sports betting license and join with multiple online partners, provided the law allows it. MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and Churchill Downs Inc., which all own casinos in the state, are experienced online sports betting operators. In addition, look for the state’s other casino owners to partner with high-profile online partners such as DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers.
Based on other states with legal sports wagering, Maryland gamblers can expect every sportsbook to have an extensive betting menu, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, golf, tennis, NASCAR, soccer, mixed martial arts and international sports, along with major college football and basketball. In-game betting will likely be offered. State lawmakers will determine whether to allow wagering on college games involving Maryland-based teams.
The legal age in Maryland is 21 for casino gambling and 18 for pari-mutuel wagering.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission awarded six casino licenses through a competitive bidding process after background and financial checks. State lawmakers will determine who is eligible for retail and online sports betting licenses if Maryland voters approve a sports wagering referendum in November 2020.
Casino gambling with slots, table games and poker; in-person and online pari-mutuel wagering; daily fantasy sports; lottery; online social casinos.
If and when online casino gambling goes live, there will be no residency requirement. But bettors will be required to be physically located within the state to place a legal wager.
No. Wagering with offshore-based online casinos is never a good idea. Offshore casinos and sportsbooks operate with little to no oversight or regulation. Withdrawing funds is always risky because U.S. banks cannot knowingly engage in transactions with a person or entity participating in unlawful Internet gambling. And if your online operator shuts down without warning, you risk losing all the funds in your account with no recourse.
Maryland gamblers can play at any of the state’s six casinos; at the state’s two thoroughbred tracks, two harness racing tracks, off-track betting sites or an online horse racing sites such as TVG, TwinSpires or DRF Bets; and on Daily Fantasy Sports through a DFS operator such as DraftKings or FanDuel.
Online pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing is legal in Maryland as of now. You can also bet on Daily Fantasy Sports. Online sports betting will become legal if Maryland voters approve a sports betting referendum and lawmakers make provisions for online and mobile wagering.
If online casinos are legalized, first look for a casino site that is licensed and regulated to ensure safety. Then test different sites and choose the one(s) with the software and selection of games you feel most comfortable with.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission oversees and regulates all casino gaming, fantasy competitions and lottery. The Maryland Racing Commission regulates horse racing in the state.
It will, provided you are a playing at licensed, regulated online casino overseen by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, which would be responsible for protecting the integrity of all games and digital equipment.
You can’t yet. When the state legalizes online casino gambling, the sign-up process generally consists of three easy steps: Select your online casino operator; open an account; deposit funds into the account.
All gambling winnings are taxable. Under Maryland law, federal and state income tax will automatically be withheld if winnings reach a certain threshold, such as $5,000 for lottery and $5,000 for pari-mutuel wagering if the bet is at least 300 times as large as the original wager. Maryland’s state gambling tax is 8.75%. Federal tax will depend on your income tax bracket.
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