Much like every state looking to legalize sports betting, Maryland has flirted with the idea ever since the 2018 US Supreme Court decision. Although Maryland does have other forms of gambling like brick-and-mortar casinos, one thing it lacks is sports betting.
But that might change next year. A ballot initiative is on the table for voters in November; if approved, lawmakers can sit down and form a comprehensive sports betting bill for 2021.
Until then, Maryland remains one of the many states without legalized sports betting.
Last updated: Oct. 19, 2020
This November, voters in Maryland will be voting on whether or not they approve of legalizing sports betting in the state, with the purpose of raising money for local education. In all reality, Maryland sports betting could begin in 2021.
The sports betting gears are turning very slowly in Maryland. A conservative guess would say that sports betting could launch sometime in late 2021.
Several key pieces of legislation must still be passed before any bets can be placed. The first is the November ballot initiative where voters must decide if they want sports betting at all.
Once that is sorted out, lawmakers can sit down and plan out exactly how sports betting will function in the state.
After the Maryland Senate passed a full-fledged sports betting bill, the House opted to strip all the language regarding how sports betting would be conducted.
Because of this, voters must now approve sports betting in November.
On the November 2020 ballot, voters will be asked this question:
“Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and event betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”
Should voters approve the ballot initiative, lawmakers can return in early 2021 and work on passing a bill to implement sports betting in the state.
Sports betting traditionally operates via two outlets: physical retail locations and mobile/online wagering.
Maryland is in a perfect position for both. The state has six casinos, three racetracks and several gambling operators that would love a crack at the online market.
As mentioned, Maryland has six land-based casinos, all of which would be capable of opening a retail sportsbook.
Additionally, there are three racetracks capable of opening sportsbooks.
Usually, when a property opens a retail sportsbook, it tends to launch a companion app. There are six gambling operators in the state that could go at it alone or partner with other companies to launch apps.
Of course, these are all hypotheticals. Ultimately, who can and will operate sports betting will be determined by the language in the final sports betting bill.
Maryland’s history with gambling dates back to 1947 when four southern counties went over the governor’s head and installed 9,300 gambling machines. When 1968 rolled around, Maryland outlawed slot machines altogether, and the millions generated from these illegal machines dried up.
Four decades later in 2008, residents approved a constitutional amendment to allow slot machines in five designated locations. In 2012, voters again elected to expand gambling by permitting table games and authorizing a sixth casino in the state.
That sixth casino, MGM National Harbor, is right across the water from Washington, D.C.
The six casinos are located in:
Since there is no sports betting law just yet, the exact age to place a bet is still unknown. However, simply looking at other states with sports betting, it’s safe to assume you will have to be 21 or older to place a wager.
The minimum gambling age in the state is 21; odds are that will apply to sports betting, as well.
When the laws are finalized, sportsbooks are officially open, and apps and online sites have launched, then you will be ready to start betting.
Make sure you understand sports betting basics and the type of bet you are placing. If you have any doubts, the casino staff can explain.
Typically, you can place a bet in two ways.
The traditional way is to go to a teller window. You pay your money and receive a ticket, which is your record of the bet.
A new way is to use a betting kiosk. These come with touch screens that display all the available bet types and games. Select your bet, pay with cash or card, and the kiosk will print out your betting ticket.
Keep your betting ticket safe because you will need it if you win. To collect your winnings, go to the teller window and hand over your ticket.
If law permits, mobile wagering will be a way for customers to place bets without having to travel to a physical sportsbook.
Geolocation will ensure that you are within state borders, and various levels of security will be installed on the apps to make sure you are who you say you are.
However, until that day comes, all of this is hypothetical.
When online sports betting arrives, you can set up a sports betting account in a matter of minutes. In some jurisdictions, such as Nevada, the law states that you must set up your account in person at a casino. There is a chance lawmakers in Maryland might adopt this rule.
You would only need to travel to the nearest physical sportsbook once to set up your account. After that, you would be able to place wagers from anywhere in the state.
Whenever online sports betting launches in MD, we will provide links to all the various brands together with reviews of each operator.
To open your account, follow one of our links and complete the information on the sign-up page. Remember, personal details will be required. This is to prevent any chance of underage gambling.
After you have chosen a screen name and password, you are ready to place your first bets. If you open your account using a mobile device, you will need to download the appropriate app. After that, the process is the same as signing up from your desktop.
Be sure to check out the new customer offers before deciding which online sportsbook to use.
Much like an online bank account, you will need money in your sportsbook account in order to place a bet.
Online sports betting operators will offer as many ways as they can to allow customers to make deposits. In some states, the laws even stipulate that operators must accept specific payment methods.
When you place a bet, funds are taken from your sportsbook account, and any winnings will credit to it. The operator will provide a complete transaction history on request.
There are several options to deposit funds in other legal sports betting states. These options include:
Withdrawals are easiest if you can use the same method you used to make your deposit.
Withdrawals are fast compared to the time needed by offshore (or illegal) sites. Because these are not allowed to use the US banking system, it can take weeks to claim your winnings from an offshore operator.
In the US, the process is almost instant if using credit or debit cards or payment processing services.
Other withdrawal methods, such as requesting a check, can take a little longer. You may not withdraw money through PayNearMe.
Easy financial transactions and the security of your account funds are significant reasons to switch from offshore sports betting to the legal market.
Short answer — yes. If you set up an online sports betting account in Maryland, you will most likely have to be inside state boundaries to place a bet. The same goes if you are betting in neighboring Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
Online gambling is regulated at the state level, not the federal level, so Maryland law no longer applies when you leave the state. One step across the border, and you are no longer legally allowed to wager on your mobile device with a Maryland licensed operator.
Geolocation technology is accurate. If you try to place a bet, the software will refuse to accept it. Of course, all bets you have made before leaving the state remain legal.
Another frequently asked question is, what if the same operator is in both states? Regardless, you will have to set up separate accounts. You will not be able to use your Pennsylvania account to bet in Maryland and vice versa.
In theory, you most likely will be able to bet on any and all sports in Maryland.
Typically the regulator decides what counts as a sport eligible for betting. Betting on the Oscars may or may not qualify.
However, there is a possibility that lawmakers may adopt a rule that prohibits wagering on in-state college teams, much like New Jersey.
Obviously, there will be no betting on high school sports or any sports involving minors where they are the majority participants.
The law may specify the types of permitted sports bets, but the regulator will probably have a great deal of latitude.
Some of the common bet types are:
Live betting allows you to wager after a game has begun. The data that sports betting operators have now is so good — at least for major events — that they can adjust the odds of bets in response to the action on the field almost instantly.
Live betting, or in game wagering, is where you bet on certain outcomes during a game. Some examples include:
Live, in game wagering is rapidly becoming a favorite of bettors. When you have a bunch of friends watching a game together, a few small in-game bets can enhance your enjoyment of the game and give everyone a stake in the outcome.
It’s still too early to know who will be opening a sportsbook in Maryland. But by looking at neighboring states and other jurisdictions that have launched sports betting, we have a good guess as to who might.
The names you will almost certainly see if they can get access to the market will be:
All are already active in the US market, and all will try to find a Maryland sports betting partner.
Short answer — no.
Unfortunately, Maryland does not have any other forms of online gambling such as online poker or online casino games.