Maryland is famous for many things: it’s the home of the National anthem, home to the first US school and the first state to enact Workmen’s Compensation laws. But the state has been divided when it comes to gambling. Maryland was one of the first states to ban all forms of gambling, only to legalize it again more than 30 years later, which makes it an interesting case in terms of the legalization of US sports betting

Is it legal to bet on sports in Maryland?

Maryland law currently only permits parimutuel wagering on horse and dog racing. Residents can place bets on these sports via online platforms, such as TVG.com or Twinspires.com and at one of the state’s seven off-track betting venues. While there are no other forms of legal sports betting in Maryland, residents may partake in daily fantasy sports games at sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

In February 2018, lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill titled HB 1014. However, this bill wasn’t typical in that it did not seek to legalize sports betting and contained no regulatory language. Instead, HB 1014 sought to force a public referendum on the legalization of sports betting, if PASPA were overturned. Although the bill was unsuccessful and died in committee just a month later, it made it past the House vote with very little opposition. This suggests that there is still hope for legal sports betting in Maryland in the future.

Aside from this, Maryland is fairly close to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia, where sports betting is legal. This could enhance pressure for Maryland lawmakers to legalize the activity, to avoid missing out on potential sports betting revenue as punters travel across state lines to bet.

 

Where will I be able to place bets on sporting events in Maryland?

It’s unclear as to where Maryland residents could bet on sports if it were to be legalized in the state. However, it’s likely that, if sports betting in Maryland were legalized, bettors could make wagers at casinos located in the state and even via online platforms. If Maryland lawmakers want to match the offerings of neighbouring states in which sports betting is legal, it will need to offer similar accessibility to sports betting.

 

What sports will I be able to bet on?

Although HB 1014 did not specify any types of sporting events, it is possible that future Maryland sports betting bills could follow the examples set by other states and permit wagering on major league sporting events, such as NBA, NHL and MLB, and collegiate sporting events.

 

What else can I bet on in Maryland

Sports betting may not be legal in Maryland, but there’s still a whole host of gambling activities for residents to enjoy. As well as the Maryland state lottery, residents may also play social casino games at sites including Zynga, Double Down, Slotomania and Big Fish. The state also has a number of land-based casinos, at which residents may play games, such as:

  •    Slots
  •    Poker
  •    Blackjack
  •    Roulette
  •    Craps
  •    Three Card Stud
  •    Mississippi Stud
  •    Baccarat
  •    Electronic table games

Casino Name Location Contact Email Opening Hours
Rocky Gap Casino Resort 16701 Lakeview Rd NE, Cumberland, MD 21530, USA +1 301-784-8400 Online form 24 hours
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore 1525 Russell St, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA +1 844-777-7463 Not available 24 hours
Hollywood Casino Perryville 1201 Chesapeake Overlook Pkwy, Perryville, MD 21903, USA +1 410-378-8500 Online form 24 hours
Live! Casino & Hotel 7002 Arundel Mills Cir #7777, Hanover, MD 21076, USA +1 443-842-7000 info@marylandlivecasino.com 24 hours
Ocean Downs 10218 Racetrack Road, Berlin, MD 21811, USA +1 410-641-0600 info@oceandowns.com Monday – Wednesday 8am – 4am
Thursday 8am-12am

Friday – Saturday 24 hours

Sunday 12 am – 4am, 8am – 4am

MGM National Harbor 101 MGM National Ave, Oxon Hill, MD 20745, USA +1 301-971-5000 guestservices@mgmnationalharbor.com 24 hours

Both online casino and online poker sites are illegal in Maryland, and it is not possible for residents to buy tickets for the Maryland lottery online.

 

Are offshore gambling sites legal in Maryland?

No. Offshore gambling sites are illegal in Maryland, which means players should avoid these at all costs. However, aside from legality, players should also avoid offshore gambling sites and betting sites because there is no regulatory body to monitor them. This means they may not be secure or may not have measures in place to protect vulnerable players, and there’s no way of knowing who is handling the money you deposit into these online accounts.

It’s easy to spot an offshore gambling site by looking at the website’s domain name. Any domains ending in .EU or .AG do not hold a license to operate in Maryland.

Maryland’s criminal law prohibits participating in or organizing gambling except when expressly permitted by the state. Under Section 12 – 102 of the state laws, an individual cannot gamble or operate a sportsbook. If an individual violates the state’s gambling law they will be guilty of a misdemeanour and can be imprisoned for at least 6 months and fined between $200 and $1000.

 

Will it be safe to bet on sports in Maryland?

Maryland’s gambling laws are already strict and ensure that all gambling activities conducted in the state are safe and fair. Given Maryland’s track record of implementing strict regulations, it’s likely that any future sports gambling regulation will be similarly strong to promote fair and responsible gambling. However, it will also be up to bettors to gamble responsibly. If you’re worried that you, or someone you know, may be suffering from problem gambling, you can contact the National Council on Problem Gambling for support.

The Maryland Council on Problem Gambling and the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, located at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, also offer different support resources.

You can contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline via:

Call: 1-800-522-4700

Text: 1-800-522-4700

Live chat

You can contact the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling via:

Tel: 443-691-2531

Email: MarylandCouncilPG@yahoo.com

Who regulates gambling in Maryland?

The Maryland Lottery and the Gaming Control Agency regulates the Maryland state lottery, while theMaryland Racing Commission oversees the state’s harness and thoroughbred horse racing industry, as well as Maryland’s off-track betting sites.

 

How old do I have to be to gamble in Maryland?

While Maryland residents must be 18 to participate in the state lottery or partake in parimutuel wagering on dog and horse races, the legal age for casino gambling is 21.

 

The journey to legal and regulated sports betting in Maryland

1791 – The first form of legalized gambling in Maryland came in the form of charitable lotteries, which were intended to help benefit churches and public work initiatives. There were so many different lotteries that they became a hotbed of corruption and illegal activity.

1834 – The state stopped issuing licenses for these ‘good cause’ lottery games due to many reports of corruption and cheating.  It was another 26 years before the last of the lotteries stopped running.

1870 – Pimlico Race Course opened its doors for business in Baltimore.

1911 – On 2 October the Racetrack at Laurel Park opened its doors for business.

1920 – The state’s racing board was formed to oversee two racetracks in that state.

1947 – Four counties in the south of Maryland permitted slot machines, installing the machines in various establishments across the counties. This led to an explosion of mechanical slot machines across the state. There were so many of these machines that they could be found in almost every gas station, store and mall.

1963 – After much campaigning, Maryland’s anti-gambling group successfully had slot machines banned from the state.

1968 – The last slot machines were removed from the state.

1973 – The state reintroduced a lottery for residents to play. This is known as the Maryland Lottery.

1992 – Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibiting sports betting across US states. Four states were made exempt from the law: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. These states had legal sports betting regulations in place.

2008 – Residents approved an amendment to the constitution that would bring slot machines back to five specified locations in the state.

2012 – Casino table games and slots were made legal following the result of a public referendum. After this, projects began to start building casino venues in Maryland.

2018 – In February, lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill titled, HB 1014. This build was introduced with the intention of forcing a public referendum on sports betting if federal law prohibiting sports betting was repealed. The bill was unsuccessful.

On 14 May, the Court reached a decision. In a 7 – 2 vote it was agreed that one of the clauses in PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment, as its commandeered power from states to regulate their own gambling industries. This paved the way for all US states to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting. In the weeks after the repeal of PASPA a number of US sportsbooks launched across the country.

Maryland lawmakers are now exploring how to go about introducing legal and regulated sports betting operations.

While Maryland sports betting is yet to be legalized, lawmakers are currently discussing the prospect of legalizing the activity. Make sure to check back with us in the future for Maryland sports betting news and updates.