The 21st century has been a period of renaissance for Maryland gambling proponents. The state has gone from restricting itself to lottery games and horse racing to becoming a full-fledged casino state. Given how each of these expansions has been driven by voter referenda, it should come as no surprise that residents want to explore legal Maryland sports betting, too. Accordingly, Marylanders overwhelmingly voted to bring sports betting to life in November 2020. They were asked a simple question on the ballot:
“Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”
After the referendum passed, it fell to the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation to authorize and regulate the new industry. Though it took six months, legislators finally did so in April 2021. Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill a month later, making it official. However, it will take a few months for both regulators and sportsbook companies to get licensed and up and running.
So, it’s important to understand when sportsbooks might appear and how the new market will work. Thankfully, you have found this page, where we will keep track of that information for you. So, if you are interested in sports betting in Maryland, read on to see where things stand.
Updated June 11
PointsBet found its entry point into the Maryland sports wagering market through an agreement with Riverboat on-the-Potomac LLC.
According to a release: “The agreement shall afford PointsBet the privilege of partnering with the revered Riverboat on the
Potomac, a licensed satellite simulcast facility for horseracing and minority owned small business
located in Charles County, Maryland.”
The deal is for ten years. PointsBet is also licensed to operate in Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and New Jersey.
Barstool Sportsbook also appears to have a seat at the table.
Penn National Gaming, which is a majority owner of the sports betting and lifestyle brand, announced it received final approval from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to acquire the operations of Hollywood Casino Perryville.
Penn National paid an announced $31.1 million in cash, subject to certain customary working capital adjustments and will pay an annual rent of approximately $7.77 million.
“We are thrilled to be re-entering the Maryland market at a property we developed in 2010 as it will add a twentieth gaming jurisdiction to our already leading nationwide footprint,” Penn CEO Jay Snowden said in a release. “In addition, we’re equally excited to be entering this market following the legalization of sports betting in Maryland a few weeks ago. This acquisition provides another opportunity to expand our unique omni-channel platform with a Barstool-branded retail sports book and mobile app.”
The transaction is expected to close in mid-2021, subject to customary closing conditions, according to Penn National.
Can you legally bet on sports in Maryland?
Not yet. Voters signed off on sports betting in Maryland in 2020 and lawmakers passed legislation in 2021. It was signed by the governor, but the process of licensing and launching still stands in the way. However, sports betting is not a question of “if” in Maryland…it’s merely a “when” now.
Does Maryland have any legal sports betting apps?
No, but there will be soon, and lots of them. The bill that passed through the Maryland General Assembly allows for a whopping 60 online licenses. It also calls for up to more than 60 retail licenses, meaning that there could be more than 100 sportsbook outlets active in Maryland at some point. Realistically, it’s unlikely that the actual number of apps will approach 60, but the takeaway is that you will have plenty of options at your fingertips before long.
When will Maryland regulate sports betting?
In terms of having an active law and registration in effect, the most likely scenario is June 2021. HB940, the amended bill, calls for an effective date of June 1, 2021. However, legalization and regulation do not equate to active sports betting. Interested companies and retail locations will still have to pass a licensing application process and get their ducks in a row to start accepting wagers.
When will Maryland sports betting launch?
Fall 2021. With the enabling legislation likely days away from becoming law, it is quite likely that the first sportsbooks will appear in Maryland when the leaves begin to change color. A launch before the 2021 NFL season is not out of the question just yet, and honestly, that’s probably what everybody is wanting. However, lots of things have to happen before then, so we’ll just have to see.
Where will I be able to make legal sports bets in Maryland?
There are almost too many to mention. The version of HB940 that the Maryland House sent to the Senate called for a whopping 37 different licenses (mobile and retail) to be issued. Incredibly, the Senate amended that number upwards in committee to an unlimited number of licenses before finally compromising and allowing for up to 60 mobile licenses and as many as 50 retail locations.
The law divides the licenses into two groups — Class A and Class B. The locations granted the ability to seek retail and mobile sportsbook licenses are as follows:
Class A (10)
- The six casinos in Maryland
- M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens
- Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles
- FedEx Field, home of the Washington Football Team, located in Landover, MD
- Maryland Jockey Club, which owns and operates both Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park racetracks
There are also three licenses reserved as an incentive for an NBA, NHL, or MLS team to relocate to Maryland. Of course, the most obvious possibilities for such relocations are the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, and DC United, respectively, which play their games within the city limits of the District of Columbia. Each team could remain in the same area but simply change their home stadium by a few miles and take advantage of the opportunity.
Class B (37)
Class B licenses are allotted for largely non-sports-related companies to offer sports betting, should they choose to do so. Although seven of the allocated licenses are meant for specific organizations in the state, the remaining 30 could be distributed to bars, restaurants, or other low-key establishments. The 30 licenses will be subject to a competitive bidding process, and the recipients will have to foot an initial $50,000 licensing fee, a $10,000 annual renewal fee, and a 15% tax on revenues. How those numbers fit with the economics of a smaller business remains to be seen, but it is likely that you will see retail sportsbooks in some very unusual locations in Maryland.
The seven specific Class B licenses are:
- Maryland State Fair/Timonium Race Course
- Four standalone OTBs, although one of them (Jockey Bar & Grill) has closed permanently
- Two commercial bingo parlors
Which online sportsbooks will launch in Maryland?
It’s still too early to know who will be opening a sportsbook app in Maryland. But by looking at neighboring states and other jurisdictions that have launched online 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:
- Fox Bet
- William Hill
All are already active in the US market, and all will try to find a Maryland sports betting partner. 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.
- Caesars Entertainment
- Gaming and Leisure Properties
- Golden Entertainment
- MGM Resorts International
- Saratoga Casino Holdings
- The Cordish Companies
Of course, these are all hypotheticals. Ultimately, who can and will operate sports betting sites will be determined as partnerships, regulations, and applications commence.
How old do I have to be to bet on sports in Maryland?
21. Maryland state law explicitly prohibits those under the age of 21 from placing a sports bet.
How to get started betting on sports in Maryland
When the 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.
Another 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.
How do I begin mobile sports betting in Maryland?
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. Those details include:
- Email address
- Social security number
- Cellphone number
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.
Do I have to be in Maryland to bet online?
Short answer — yes. If you set up an online sportsbook 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 in Maryland 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.
How to make a deposit
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:
- Credit and debit cards
- Prepaid cards
- Wire transfers
- PayPal, Skrill and Neteller
- Check or money order
How to withdraw winnings
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.
What sports can I bet on in Maryland?
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.
However, the bill under consideration in the Maryland Senate does not have any prohibitions at all. In fact, it specifically allows for betting on the Olympics, the Oscars, and any collegiate events that you like. So, with that in mind, here are some of the most relevant options that you’ll want to consider betting in Maryland.
Needless to say, football is the top sports betting draw in the US, including in Maryland. The gridiron sport captures the attention of the public like no other. Consequently, many states debut their sports betting industries just before the NFL season begins in August – it remains to be seen if Maryland will follow suit. Once sports betting begins, however, Marylanders will no doubt be interested in betting the following teams:
- Baltimore Ravens: M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St, Baltimore, MD 21230
- Washington Football Team: FedEx Field, 1600 Fedex Way, Landover, MD 20785
- University of Maryland Terrapins: Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, 90 Stadium Dr, College Park, MD 20742
- US Naval Academy Midshipmen: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 550 Taylor Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401
Betting on football is extremely straightforward due to the number of points commonly scored in a game, so you can find the full range of spreads, moneylines, and totals available. In addition, the various traditions and quirks of the game can yield many different prop bet opportunities. Finally, the episodic nature of gameplay means that there will be tons of live betting options on each and every game.
If football is the top sport in America, basketball is a close second. Hoops is always a popular option for fans and bettors alike. In particular, there are always going to be wagers to be found for NBA games, be it regular season or playoffs. The NCAA Mens’ Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, is also a big draw for betting. So, Marylanders will likely find themselves betting on the following teams:
- Washington Wizards: Capital One Arena, 601 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
- University of Maryland Terrapins: Xfinity Center, 8500 Paint Branch Dr, College Park, MD 20740
Like football, basketball has plenty of scoring in a typical game. With scoring comes sports betting options, as there are a plethora of statistics generated over the course of a game’s progress. So, you will have no shortage of opportunities to bet, both before and during the game.
Although America’s Pastime is usually third on the popularity list these days, there’s no denying that baseball remains a common choice for both fans and sports bettors. Once sports betting launches in Maryland, Maryland sports bettors will undoubtedly be on the lookout for great wagering options around baseball. Top teams in Maryland include:
- Baltimore Orioles: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 W Camden St, Baltimore, MD 21201
- Washington Nationals: Nationals Park, 1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Baseball differs from other sports due to the low-scoring nature of its games. Because it is far more difficult to set a point spread when there are only a few points (runs) on the board, sportsbooks will usually employ a bet known as the “run line.” Run line bets set the spread at a standard 1.5 runs, then vary the payout ratios. In essence, a run line is a hybrid wager of the spread bet and the moneyline.
Hockey is certainly the least of the four major sports in the US. For states that hardly receive any snow cover or ice, it’s simply not part of the culture. However, there is plenty of ice in Maryland, and there are plenty of fans of hockey, too. When sports betting comes along, here are the teams they’ll be looking to bet:
- Washington Capitals: Capital One Arena, 601 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
Like baseball, the dearth of scoring in hockey has led sportsbooks to use the puck line instead of a standard spread bet. The favorite is always expected to win by 1.5 goals, and payouts vary according to the chance of such a win. Interestingly, it is not uncommon for the favorite in terms of winning the game to be an underdog to beat the spread. In other words, the sportsbook expects the underdog to cover the spread, even though it forecasts a loss.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Unfortunately, the US is decidedly not the world. So, even though there are plenty of soccer teams stateside, the game’s draw cannot match up to the four sports listed above. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of Marylanders who might want to give a bet on the local boys a try. So, here are the relevant teams for Maryland residents:
- D.C. United: Audi Field, 100 Potomac Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024
Betting on soccer adds an extra dimension of difficulty due to the high likelihood of a game ending in a tie. So, you’ll often see no spread bet option at all. Furthermore, many sportsbooks will offer a three-way moneyline, where you can bet on a tie as the likely outcome, rather than a win for either team. Some sportsbooks, however, will yield a different type of bet – the Asian handicap. This type of bet is a moneyline, but it takes the chance of a tie and divvies it into the calculations for the favorites and underdogs. Either way, betting on soccer takes some practice, but there should be no shortage of opportunities to do so once Maryland goes live.
There are several other sports that you might find up for betting in Maryland. According to HB940, you could very well see wagering for the following sports or games:
- Australian-rules football
- Awards ceremonies – the Academy Awards, the Emmys, etc.
- Boxing/Mixed martial arts
- Election results
- Motor sports
- Table tennis
The exact lineup will vary from company to company. The great thing is that, with online sports betting, you can switch around until you find exactly the sport you want to bet on. So, think about your favorite sport, do some research, and get ready to put your money down.
What types of sports bets will be available in MD?
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:
- Moneyline: Wagers on which team or player will win.
- Spreads: You don’t bet on the winner of the game; you bet on the difference between the final scores of the two teams involved in the game.
- Totals: Betting on the combined total of both teams’ scores.
- Futures: Futures bets are on something a long way off, such as who will win the NBA championship.
- Parlay: You select the winners of several games, usually all taking place on the same day. If you get one winner wrong, you lose your stake.
- Teaser: This is just like a parlay, but the legs of the parlay are only on totals bets or spread bets, and you can move the line in your favor.
Live betting on MD sports betting apps
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:
- Will the next play be a run or a pass?
- Will David Johnson run for a TD on the next play?
- Will LeBron James make a 3-point shot on this possession?
- What will the total score be at the end of the next quarter?
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.
History of Sports Betting in Maryland
As is the case in most states, Maryland’s history when it comes to sports betting is not terribly long. After all, sports betting was not even permitted in states not named Nevada, and Maryland was in no hurry to take up arms with New Jersey. However, Maryland did set a precedent for one of the smaller applications of betting on sports. Namely, Maryland was the first state in the union to legitimize fantasy sports play when Gov. Martin O’Malley signed Chapter 346 of the Laws of 2012 into effect. However, it would be another five years before the actual enforcement and regulation of fantasy sports play would begin in the Old Line State.
Of course, if we’re talking about true sports betting, then the story is much shorter and more recent. So, here are the relevant events that have led to Maryland’s position on the cusp of sports betting in 2021:
- 2018 – As many nearby states pass sports betting legislation contingent on the Supreme Court’s expected dismissal of the federal ban, Maryland appears poised to do the same thing. HB1014 breezes past the 138 voting members of the Maryland House of Representatives with only 14 dissenting votes and appears to be in good shape to become law of the land. However, the bill stalls out in the Senate, leaving states around Maryland to reap the benefits of the newly-legal sports betting option. Marylanders must now wait for the 2019 session to hope for sports betting to enter the state’s lawbooks.
- 2019 – Part of the problem that derails the 2018 bill is the fact that, as a commercial gambling expansion, legalizing sports betting in Maryland requires a constitutional amendment. Constitutional amendments, in turn, require voter approval and more time to ratify. Instead of pinning themselves to that option, lawmakers Jason Buckel and Kevin Hornberger try to perform an end run around the requirement and make sports betting a product of the state lottery. Unfortunately, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh puts the kibosh on those plans by confirming that a constitutional amendment will be required for sports betting, no matter its approach vector.
- 2020 – Legislators decide to press forward with a third attempt in as many years when State Sen. Craig Zucker authors SB 4 to legalize retail and online sports betting in Maryland. By March 2020, all signs point to a swift legalization as the bill sails through the Senate with a unanimous 47-member vote. However, the optimism fades soon after SB 4 arrived in the House. House members gut the bill’s main details and leave only a shell of the original bill, which is a mere ballot referendum now. Delegates later explain the cut occurs over concerns about diversity inclusion in SB 4. Whatever the reason, the move ends up being a prescient one, as voters approve the amendment in November by more than a 2:1 margin. Thus, sports betting is legal in Maryland, but still requires laws and regulations to move forward.
- 2021 – The legislative session begins with a bang, as the House sends HB940 straight into the waiting arms of the Senate. The bill calls for a whopping 37 licensing opportunities, both mobile and retail, and with both gaming and non-gaming organizations. The Senate responds by saying that 37 is not enough, and amends the bill to allow for the possibility for as many as 110 licenses. With Gov. Hogan’s signature, Maryland will finally be a legal sports betting state. All that will be left is to begin issuing the slew of licenses and getting things up and running.