Maryland is set to become one of the most expansive and competitive sports betting markets in the US.
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Yes. Voters approved sports betting in a November 2020 referendum by a more than 2-to-1 margin. Maryland lawmakers then crafted and passed a comprehensive sports wagering bill signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan on May 18, 2021.
Maryland regulatory officials are in the process of drafting sports betting rules and license 2021 NFL season. The application and review process for the large number of online sportsbooks will take longer, meaning online sports betting is likely to launch later than retail.
Maryland joining Mid-Atlantic neighbors New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Virginia in legalizing sports betting was not a surprise. What is extraordinary is the size and scope of legal sports betting in Maryland. The number of online and retail sports betting licenses available — nearly 100 in all — is likely to make the nation’s 19th most populous state one of the most competitive for sports wagering.
The state’s six commercial casinos are automatically eligible to receive a sports betting license, along with three pro sports stadiums (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field), horse racing tracks, larger off-track betting facilities, two commercial bingo halls and the State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
In addition, 30 retail sports licenses will be available for smaller non-gaming businesses, such as bars and restaurants, which will pay lower licensing fees. To further encourage inclusivity, the state will set goals to ensure participation for businesses and people with minority backgrounds. Holders of retail betting licenses can also apply for mobile wagering.
Initially, Maryland sports betting legislation included no cap on the number of online sports betting licenses, before lawmakers settled on 60. If all are awarded, Maryland will have the highest number in the US — more than the combined total of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, two of the top online sports betting states in the nation.
Sports betting operators in Maryland will pay a 15% tax on gross gaming revenue, which is earmarked for public education.
1870: Pimlico Race Course opens, the second-oldest horse racing track in the US Three years later, the Baltimore track begins hosting the Preakness, second jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
1973: Maryland Lottery begins operations, one year after voters approve lottery referendum.
2008: Voters approve Las Vegas-style casino games in statewide referendum. Hollywood Casino Perryville is the first casino to open in 2010. Five more casinos subsequently open, with MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill the most recent in 2016.
2012: Maryland becomes one of the first states to legalize paid-entry daily fantasy sports.
2018: US Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling, strikes down the Professional Sports and Amateur Protection Act, providing all states the option to legalize single-game sports wagering.
March 2020: Maryland lawmakers pass stripped-down sports betting bill which allows voters to decide the issue in November. Specifics on type of betting and tax rates are removed from bill by General Assembly, which cites lack of diversity and a built-in advantage for existing gambling establishments.
November 2020: Voters overwhelmingly approve sports betting by 67–33 percent margin in statewide referendum.
May 2021: Gov. Larry Hogan signs Maryland sports betting bill into law. Bill provides for online and retail sports betting and will allow for as many as 60 online sportsbooks, the highest number in the nation. In-person sports betting will be available at the state’s casinos, racetracks, pro sports stadiums, the State Fairgrounds and a variety of other businesses.
Fall 2021: Maryland sports betting projected to launch.
Legal sports betting in Maryland is regulated by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. The organization:
Given the number of licenses available, several sports betting operators are making plans to enter the Maryland marketplace. Among the most likely and popular options:
One of the most well-known names in sports betting already has a presence in Maryland through its daily fantasy sports platform. DraftKings’ sports betting app is one of the most popular and accessible in the US and includes a wide range of traditional and in-game betting options and sports to choose from.
The online wagering site of Churchill Downs Inc., which owns and operates Ocean Downs Racino, The company’s sports betting site was formerly known as BetAmerica and rebranded in 2021 to TwinSpires, its more well-known pari-mutuel division. TwinSpires sports betting app is popular in neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
FanDuel is one of the leading online and retail sports betting providers in every state in which it operates. FanDuel will likely be licensed in Maryland through its partnership with Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland. The Hanover casino has already opened a 14,000-square foot space called ‘Sports and Social,’ which will offer retail sports betting when wagering goes live. FanDuel’s highly rated sports betting app is one of the most player-friendly in the industry.
The online affiliate of MGM Resorts International is already a major player in Maryland, where MGM National Harbor is the top-performing casino in the state. BetMGM sportsbook is aggressively expanding across the US and offers some of the most aggressive bonus offers and promotions in the sports betting industry.
Known for its distinctive PointsBetting format, in which bettors can win or lose more than their original bet based on how right or wrong the wager was. PointsBet is aggressively forming several high-profile sports betting partnerships, including equity deals with NBC Sports and the NHL. It will enter the Maryland market through a recently announced partnership with Riverboat on the Potomac, a licensed satellite simulcast facility for horse racing.
One of the largest online gambling operators in Europe recently expanded into Virginia, its fourth sports betting market in the US, with more on the way. Unibet sportsbook offers a huge platform for both US and international sports with a wide range of in-play betting options.
BetRivers offers sports betting in nearly a dozen states, including neighboring Pennsylvania, where it was that state’s first online sports wagering provider. BetRivers offers one of the most player-friendly bonus offers with a 1x playthrough requirement, one of the lowest in the industry, making it easy to redeem your bonus dollars for cash.
This gaming giant recently purchased Hollywood Casino Perryville, the first casino to open in Maryland. Penn National is expected to use that property to obtain a sports betting license for its popular Barstool Sports brand. The Barstool app has launched in five states and the company says it expects to double that number before the end of 2021.
One of the most iconic names in gambling expanded its national online presence in a major way with its recent purchase of sports betting giant William Hill. Now Caesars offers mobile wagering in more than a dozen states and will add Maryland to the list through its ownership of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.
|Operator||Land-Based Partner||Team or Notable Partnership|
|FanDuel||Live! Casino & Hotel||Washington Football Team, Denver Broncos, Detroit Tigers, etc.|
|BetMGM||MGM National Harbor||Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia 76ers, etc.|
|Caesars||Horseshoe Casino Baltimore||New Jersey Devils, Las Vegas Raiders, ESPN, etc.|
|Penn National Gaming||Hollywood Casino Perryville||NASCAR, Sportradar, etc.|
|TwinSpires||Ocean Downs||Kentucky Derby, Brett Favre, etc.|
|PointsBet||Riverboat on the Potomac||Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, NBC Sports, etc.|
One of the NFL’s winningest franchises in recent years with two Super Bowl titles (XXXV and XLVII) and 13 playoff appearances since 2000. Led by dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Ravens are listed at 14–1 to win the Super Bowl in 2022, making them one of the three NFL betting favorites in the AFC. The team was established in 1996 after Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis and Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell relocated his team to Baltimore. The Ravens play their home games at M&T Bank Stadium.
The American League team enjoyed their glory years from 1966–1985 when they won three World Series titles (1966, 1970, 1983) and six A.L. pennants. Recent success has been more elusive. The Orioles haven’t experienced a winning season since 2016 and lost more than a 100 games in both 2018 and 2019, leaving them far from a top pick for MLB betting. The team plays its home games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The NFL franchise (formerly known as the Redskins) plays its home games at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., about 10 miles from Washington D.C. Team owner Dan Snyder said he plans to build a new stadium by 2027, with Maryland among the possible locations. On the field, the team won the NFC East in 2020–21 with a 7–9 record. The franchise has won three Super Bowls, but hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005.
The NBA team was formerly the Baltimore Bullets before moving to Landover and then to Washington D.C. The franchise’s lone championship season was in 1978 as the Washington Bullets. The Wizards (34–38) qualified for the playoffs in the 2020–21 season, but lost their first-round Eastern Conference series to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The NHL team played its home games at the Capital Center in Landover from 1974–1997 before moving to Washington D.C. The Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018 and have enjoyed plenty of success in recent years, reaching the playoffs every season since 2013–14.
As Maryland moves closer to launching sports betting, the state’s pro teams are expected to announce additional partnerships with sports gaming operators. Among the deals already announced:
Just a few days after sports betting became legal in Maryland, BetMGM became the first official gaming partner of the Baltimore Ravens. Under terms of the multi-year partnership, the NFL team and online gaming company will create co-branded promotions in addition to stadium signage and Ravens-specific promotions on the BetMGM app.
The two formed a market access partnership that allowed FanDuel to launch online sports betting in Virginia. FanDuel also becomes the official daily fantasy partner of the NFL team, which plays its home games at FedEx Field in Landover.
The NFL is the most popular betting league in the US, and that’s expected to be the case in Maryland, with the Ravens garnering the bulk of the attention, along with the Washington Football Team. With the Orioles and several nearby pro franchises in the Washington D.C. area, it’s anticipated that MLB, the NBA, NHL and MLS will also be popular betting markets in Maryland.
As for college sports, the University of Maryland, which competes in the Big Ten, is the state’s most popular NCAA program and is a local favorite for college football betting. The state is home to nine NCAA Division I basketball teams to choose from when wagering on college basketball.
Maryland is expected to follow the lead of other states with legal sports betting and allow a wide range of deposit and withdrawal options. Deposits can be instantaneous and fees vary by method used. Withdrawals generally take longer to process and can be requested at any time from your online sportsbook account.
From a bettor’s standpoint, Maryland is likely to compare favorably to other states with legal sports betting. With licenses available for nearly 40 in-person retailers and up to 60 online operators, Maryland bettors won’t have to look hard to find a sports betting outlet. That means opportunities to shop for more favorable odds, along with additional wagering options, promotions and bonus offers.
While it’s likely that popular operators such as FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM will grab significant market share, legal sports betting in Maryland is set up to be more inclusive than in any other state. Class B sports betting licenses for smaller businesses will cost less, creating fewer barriers to entry. The state is also making efforts to award licenses to minority-owned businesses.
Whether the state will award all of the available online licenses is to be determined, and the application review process may prove arduous. Still, in an ultra-competitive Mid-Atlantic region in which all of its neighboring states already offer sports betting, Maryland appears more than likely to hold its own.
The Maryland Alliance for Responsible Gambling, formed in 2010, provides resources and support for Maryland residents who may have a gambling problem.
HB 940, the bill which legalized sports betting in the state, includes provisions for self-exclusion from sports wagering for bettors who want to restrict their gambling behavior (a similar program is already in place for Maryland casino gambling). In addition, a portion of the state’s gaming license revenue is automatically allocated to defray operational costs for the state’s problem gambling hotline.
Yes. Online and retail sports betting was signed into law in May 2021. State officials are hopeful in-person sports betting will be up-and-running in time for the 2021 football season, with online sports betting to follow.
Bettors must be 21 or older to participate in Maryland online sports betting.
Both are expected to apply for retail and online sports betting licenses and become major players in Maryland sports betting. Both already operate daily fantasy sports platforms in the state. FanDuel has a path to Maryland sports betting through its partnership with the Washington Football Team and FedEx Field.
No. There is no residency requirement. But bettors must be physically located inside Maryland state lines when placing a legal wager.
Yes. Gross gaming revenue from retail and online sports betting will be subject to a 15% tax, with the revenue to be allocated for public education. Operators must also pay licensing fees. Casinos, sports teams and racetracks will pay $3 million for a sports betting license. Fees for smaller businesses will start at $50,000.
All gambling winnings are considered taxable income, according to the IRS.
"Chet Fussman is a freelance writer for Gambling.com. Fussman is a former horse racing writer and longtime sports editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. He's a poker and blackjack player and frequent sports bettor, who plans to send the U.S. Supreme Court a thank-you card for clearing the way for states to adopt sports wagering. Fussman's philosophy: Don't let the bad beats overshadow your winning ones."
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