Maryland Lottery and Gaming reported an overall sportsbook hold of 9.4% in August, marking the first time this year bettors in the state kept it below 10%.
It was the first time the statewide hold was single digits in the 10 months since mobile wagering launched in the Old Line State, with the previous mobile low being 10.6% in June. It was also the third time in 21 months of overall betting Maryland sportsbooks failed to collectively post a 10% hold, having also fallen short in February 2022 (3.7%) and June 2022 (6.9%).
Operators still had a solid month, claiming $24.9 million in gross revenue from $263.7 million handle. Promotional play was up 44.7% compared to July to $8.1 million as the state was eligible to levy its 15% tax on slightly more than $17 million in adjusted gross revenue. The $2.6 million in tax revenue lifted the calendar year total to $27.4 million.
While year-over-year comparisons are skewed because Maryland did not launch mobile wagering until last November, handle was up 6.6% compared to July. Gross revenue slipped 11.4% from July to August, as the hold went down nearly two full percentage points.
FanDuel’s 10th straight double-digit hold
Running 2023 YTD Top 10 #SportsBetting handles by state (thru August in CAPS)
1 NEW YORK $11.24B
2 New Jersey $5.75B
3 Illinois $5.4B
4 Nevada $4.44B
5 Ohio $4.16B
6 Pennsylvania $3.87B
7 Arizona $3.23B
8 Virginia $2.91B
9 MARYLAND $2.581B
10 Colorado $2.58B#GamblingTwitter
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) September 11, 2023
Though the statewide hold slipped under 10%, FanDuel continued to run roughshod on the public as it topped 12% for the 10th time in as many months. The online titan did have its “worst” hold since entering Maryland at 12.1% but still claimed $12.6 million in gross revenue from $104.2 million wagered. FanDuel also had the largest promotional outlay among the 12 mobile operators with $2.6 million.
DraftKings nearly matched FanDuel dollar for promotional dollar with $2.4 million in such play, but its more pedestrian hold of 7.7% resulted in $7 million in gross revenue from $92 million worth of accepted bets. DraftKings also topped $1 billion in all-time handle in Maryland since launch, joining FanDuel as the only operators to accomplish the feat.
Fanatics Sportsbook began showing its deep pockets in Maryland, ranking third in promotional spend at $1.7 million — a three-fold increase from July. Its total handle for August was $6.7 million, and while it posted a strong 14.5% hold to claim $968,000, promotions and deductions left it with minus-$700,000 in adjusted gross revenue. In three-plus months of wagering, Fanatics has a total AGR of minus-$1.2 million.
BetMGM claimed the final podium spot for gross revenue and handle, crafting a 10.4% win rate to claim $2.1 million in gross revenue off $20.2 million handle. BetMGM has had a double-digit hold for mobile wagering every month but July since entering the Old Line State and also topped $10 million in gross revenue for 2023.
In its first full month of wagering following a mid-July launch, Crab Sports had gross revenue of $19,000 from $215,000 handle for a win rate just off 9%. A smaller promotional outlay allowed Crab Sports to finish with a positive AGR for August and also enough to make its first tax payment to the state after the deductions allowing carryover from the previous month.
BetPARX made its Maryland debut in August, operating through the Green Turtle in Canton and accepting $180,000 worth of bets and claiming $13,000 in gross revenue for a 7.2% hold. Maryland is the fourth state in which betPARX is taking wagers, along with Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Bettors improve on parlays, fare well in baseball
The members of the Maryland betting public who tailed the Orioles in August likely did well for themselves. The AL East leaders went 18-9 on the month, including 10-5 at home, as operators collected less than $2 million from $74.4 million handle for a 2.7% hold.
Football futures likely helped push the hold higher, as pigskin revenue from pro and college football totaled $3.8 million from only $14.2 million worth of bets.
While parlays accounted for close to half the overall gross revenue at $12.4 million, the betting public dragged down the hold for that wagering discipline nearly eight percentage points to 16.6%. In the three months Maryland Lottery and Gaming has been publishing handle and revenue by sport or category, operators have posted a 20.1% hold while collecting $47 million in gross revenue.
Futures payouts in college basketball and ice hockey resulted in small operator losses, with the house paying out $2,568 above $4,208 handle in hoops and $925 over the $55,000-plus worth of hockey wagers.
MGM National Harbor takes first monthly loss
MGM National Harbor accounted for close to 44% of the overall retail handle with $5.9 million worth of accepted wagers, but all that action also brought out some winners as the casino sportsbook paid out $169,000 above that total in August. It was a month-to-month swing in revenue of $858,000 for National Harbor, as the hold plunged from 19.6% in July to minus-2.9%.
Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore took a smaller loss as bettors came out $26,000 ahead on $1.3 million handle. It was the second loss in three months for the Caesars-run brick-and-mortar venue after finishing in the black all 18 months prior.