Maryland voters approved a ballot measure that legalized sports betting in 2020. The ballot question was a simple “yes” or “no”, and the answer was ultimately “yes”. The state legislature has since passed a sports betting measure which Governor Larry Hogan signed it into law in May 2021. The accompanying list of regulations were approved on July 15th, 2021. A handful of retail sportsbooks opened for business in December 2021, but mobile betting has been bogged down by the state’s notoriously slow regulatory process and won’t be available until late 2022, and possibly 2023 according to some analysts.
Sports wagering is already legal in every one of its neighboring jurisdictions. Maryland now joins Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. on the growing list of states with legal sports betting.
MD Sportsbook Alternatives: Over/Under Player Props
Maryland sports betting: A road map
The question on the ballot, which was labeled “Maryland Question 2” or “The Sports Betting Expansion Measure” — read simply:
“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?”
For Maryland sports betting backers in the General Assembly, wagering would have begun shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the federal sports gambling ban in May 2018, which granted every state the autonomy to legalize betting. However, Maryland’s constitution prohibits gambling expansion without majority approval via ballot measure.
Maryland voters have largely supported gambling initiatives in recent years, permitting casino gaming in 2008 and supporting horse racing for decades — most notably the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
Legislative “lens of inclusion”
Before the legislation was passed but after the ballot measure was approved, it was expected that 10 or so sportsbooks would be licensed to operate in Maryland. Those predictions were wildly inaccurate. Turns out there will be up to 60 sportsbook licenses issued! There are not 60 brands operating in the United States, so this will take some doing. Maryland is set to create a unique, innovative regulatory structure that will allow mom-and-pop businesses to apply for a license. This could result in many independent operators accepting bets on sports without a casino partner.
The legislation was created with a “lens of inclusion.” Legislators wanted to specifically make it easier for women- and minority-owned businesses to enter the sports betting industry. Minority and female applicants will have the full support of regulators as they go through the licensing process. Other inclusive measures include licensed kiosks being available to small businesses in the state, the owners of which will pay a smaller licensing fee than their larger competitors. Maryland is the first state to intentionally expand the sports betting pie to include non-casinos and minority-owned businesses. The Maryland sports betting possibilities are intriguing to say the least. Pickles Pub sports betting app? Sure! Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn and Sportsbook? Ok! Old Major Baltimore Beer Bar and Betting? Why not?
So, what’s in the bill?
There are up to 40 potential retail licenses up for grabs that are broken down into Class A and Class B status, along with subcategories Class A-1, Class A-2, Class B-1, and Class B-2, each based on the following criteria:
Class A-1: Professional sports venues of the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Commanders, and Baltimore Orioles, plus any future professional teams, and casinos with over 1,000 video lottery terminals.
Class A-2: Video lottery operators with less than 1,000 terminals and horse racetracks at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness Stakes.
Class B-1: Defined in the proposed regulations as applicants who are “not eligible for a Class B-2 facility license,” and includes the Maryland State Fairgrounds.
Class B-2: Organizations with fewer than 25 employees and less than $3 million in “aggregate gross receipts.” Also includes bingo halls and other small businesses.
Ten (10) Class A licenses will be allocated for the state’s six established casinos, three professional sports teams, and a pair of famous horse tracks:
- M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
- FedEx Field – Washington Commanders (NFL)
- Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
- MGM National Harbor
- Horseshoe Baltimore
- Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland
- Pimlico Racetrack/Laurel Park Racetrack
- Hollywood Casino Perryville
- Ocean Downs
- Rocky Gap Casino Resort
The thirty (30) Class B licenses will be for established entities in the state and retail stores looking to get into the sports betting market. An additional 7 Class B licenses were also set aside by the state to ensure that the following businesses can obtain one after being qualified by the MLGCC:
Class B (Designated)
- Maryland State Fairgrounds
- Greenmount Station (OTB)
- The Jockey Bar and Grille (OTB)
- Long Shot’s (OTB)
- Riverboat on the Potomac (OTB)
- Bingo World
- Rod ‘N Reel
Among the 17 locations to receive a designated sports wagering license, only the Rocky Gap Casino has come forth and announced that it does not plan on applying for a betting license.
When it comes to online licenses, Maryland’s motto seems to be, “the more, the merrier” as there will be up to 60 total licenses up for grabs. Retail license holders can apply along with mobile-only sportsbooks. Registration can be done remotely (from your computer or mobile device) or in-person if the mobile sportsbook is tethered to a retail location.
Application fees and license bonds
When a retail or mobile-only entity apply for a license, there is an initial application fee and they must purchase a license bond. There is also a 15% revenue tax on all sports betting in the state.
|License||Application fee||License bond||Performance bond|
|A-1||$2 million||$6 million||n/a|
|A-2||$1 million||$3 million||n/a|
|Mobile-only||$500,000||$1.5 million||$1.5 million|
Maryland mobile sportsbook apps
While we may be months away from totally filling the Old Line State with (potentially) dozens of sportsbooks, we do generally know which sportsbooks will be live in the state on or close to Day 1. This is because, in addition to the aforementioned small businesses, the state’s six casinos and the three stadiums that house the state’s professional sports teams were awarded sportsbook licenses that include an online “skin.” A skin is an existing sportsbook partnering with a licensed entity like a casino or sports team. So if the Orioles decide to open a sportsbook at Camden Yards, they can create their own Orioles Sportsbook or they can partner with a sportsbook such as DraftKings, which would be the Orioles’ online skin.
|Online Sportsbook (Projected)||Location||Owner|
|BetMGM||MGM National Harbor||MGM Resorts International|
|Caesars||Horseshoe Casino||Caesars Entertainment|
|DraftKings||M&T Bank Stadium||Baltimore Ravens|
|FanDuel||Live! Casino and Hotel||The Cordish Companies|
|PointsBet||Riverboat on the Potomac||Delmock Entertainment|
|Barstool Sports||Hollywood Casino Perryville||Gaming and Leisure Properties (Penn National)|
|BetRivers||Bingo World||Bingo World Inc.|
|TBD/Unknown||Ocean Downs Casino||Churchill Downs|
|TBD/Unknown||Pimlico Race Course||Stronach Group|
|TBD/Unknown||Laurel Park||Stronach Group|
|TBD/Unknown||Rosecroft Raceway||Stronach Group|
|TBD/Unknown||Camden Yards||Baltimore Orioles|
|TBD/Unknown||FedEx Field||Washington Commanders|
|TBD/Unknown||Fair Hill Races||State of Maryland|
|TBD/Unknown||Maryland State Fairgrounds||Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society, Inc.|
|TBD/Unknown||The Jockey Bar and Grille||Family-owned|
|TBD/Unknown||Rod 'N Reel||Family-owned|
There are no sure bets in the oftentimes complex process of sportsbook affiliation, but it was never in doubt that BetMGM would operate in Maryland. MGM National Harbor is one of the state’s most popular casinos, but the company also partnered with the Baltimore Ravens, which could make it the team’s online skin. MGM opened a retail sportsbook at its National Harbor location in December 2021. It will assuredly use its own BetMGM app for its flagship sports betting product, which is already available digitally in several states and is pushing one of the more rapid expansions of any operator in the country.
Horseshoe Casino owner Caesars Entertainmentopened up a retail Caesars Sportsbook at its Baltimore location in early December 2021, and there’s a very high chance its incredible mobile app will follow. Caesars already offers digital wagering in a multitude of nearby states and would immediately become one of the top sportsbook options in Maryland. The brand also struck a 2020 deal as ESPN’s exclusive line provider, furthering its visibility to millions of American sports fans.
One of the largest sports betting brands in U.S. market share, it appears it’s only a matter of when, not if, FanDuel will enter the Maryland mobile sports betting market. The Cordish Companies, owner of Live! Casino and Hotel, already had ties with FanDuel in Pennsylvania and immediately linked up with the brand in Maryland, adding a retail FanDuel Sportsbook to its Live! Casino and Hotel in Arundel Mills in December 2021. Once FanDuel goes live via mobile, the brand should easily become one of the state’s top commercial operators.
Considering Ocean Downs Casino is owned by Churchill Downs, the parent company behind TwinSpires, this pairing was a match made in heaven from the start. As a result, Ocean Downs opened up a retail TwinSpires sportsbook at its Berlin location in December 2021. Unfortunately just two months later in February 2022, CDI announced that it would be pulling the plug on all of TwinSpires’ online sports betting and casino operations in hopes of shifting the brand’s focus back to horse racing. The retail sportsbook at Ocean Downs remains open but with TwinSpires out on any online sports betting ventures moving forward, the casino should have a vacant skin available.
In June 2021, PointsBet officially announced a partnership with the Riverboat on the Potomac to offer both retail and online sports betting. The Riverboat on the Potomac is a licensed satellite simulcast OTB facility and is a minority-owned small business. Additionally, PointsBet signed a marketing agreement with the University of Maryland. The Australia-based sportsbook offers some of the best promotions in the US market, and brings its high-risk, high-reward PointsBetting wagering to the Maryland market. PointsBetting is basically a spread bet on steroids, and for a full rundown of how to get in on the action, be sure to check out our full PointsBet review.
Barstool Sportsbook owner Penn National Gaming has brought its notorious sports wagering media and entertainment brand to a growing number of states and Maryland is next on its list. Gaming and Leisure Properties, a real estate investment trust spun off from Penn National, owns Hollywood Casino Perryville and still has close ties to its former parent company. Located just a few miles from the Pennsylvania border, where Penn National is headquartered, the Perryville casino will be the home for the Barstool retail and online sportsbook, the former of which opened in December 2021.
One of the largest U.S. sportsbooks in terms of market share, number of retail locations, and available states, it seems certain DraftKings will find a way to enter Maryland one way or another. On August 18, 2021, both DraftKings and the Baltimore Ravens announced a deal that would make DK the Official Daily Fantasy Sports, Sports Betting, Free-to-Play Partner of the team. The deal marked DraftKings’ first partnership in the state of Maryland, leading many to believe that the brand could hitch its wagon to M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Ravens, for market access. The stadium was one of 17 local businesses to get approved for licensing by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission back in August 2021 and would make an incredible fit, pairing up a two-time Super Bowl winning franchise with one of the biggest and best entities in online gambling.
Rush Street Interactive’s popular mobile sportsbook arm, BetRivers, has been making waves on the Maryland front for quite a few years now. The company first struck a deal with Penn National Gaming in February 2021 that would grant BetRivers market access in Maryland, along with Ohio and Missouri. With PNG’s Hollywood Casino Perryville location already occupied by its retail Barstool Sportsbook, it was revealed almost exactly one year later in February 2022 that BetRivers would be partnering with Bingo World instead.
On March 16, 2022, both Bingo World and Rush Street Interactive were approved by the MLGCC to receive their respective sports betting licenses, officially setting them up for a retail launch in the near future. If and when mobile wagering gets approved as well, expect the BetRivers mobile app to follow.
Maryland land-based retail sportsbooks
|Casino||Retail Sportsbook||Location||Retail Launch Date|
|MGM National Harbor||BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge||Oxon Hill||Dec. 9, 2021|
|Live! Casino & Hotel||FanDuel Sportsbook||Arundel Mills||Dec. 10, 2021|
|Horseshoe Casino||Caesars Sportsbook||Baltimore||Dec. 10, 2021|
|Ocean Downs Casino||TwinSpires Sportsbook||Berlin||Dec. 19, 2021|
|Hollywood Casino Perryville||The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino||Perryville||Dec. 23, 2021|
Professional Maryland Sports Teams
Odds from FanDuel and they are subject to change.
|Team Name||League||1st MD season||Odds|
|Baltimore Orioles||Major League Baseball||1954||Win World Series +100000|
|Baltimore Ravens||National Football League||1996||Win Superbowl +2000|
|Washington Commanders||National Football League||1997 (played in D.C. 1937–1997)||Win Superbowl +7000|
The Latest Maryland Sports Betting News
Retail sports wagering is legal and operational in the state, but the process of launching mobile betting is proving to be painfully slow.
Despite a decline in handle and revenue for April, Maryland's retail sportsbooks combined for a double-digit hold for the fourth time in five months.
Expert panelists emphasized the challenges involved with small businesses entering the sports betting market
Maryland demographics and teams
Maryland has the nation’s highest median household income, fifth-densest population and, with just over 6 million residents, the 19th largest overall population. These demographic factors, plus popular sports teams such as the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, MLB’s Baltimore Orioles and the NCAA’s Maryland Terrapins, have industry stakeholders believing it could be one of the more lucrative per capita markets in the U.S.
Legal sports betting could also help Maryland keep gambling dollars within state lines. MGM National Harbor, located within eyesight of the Washington D.C. and Virginia borders, became the state’s highest-grossing casino in large part due to out-of-state visitors. The 2016 launch of Maryland’s newest casino helped compel Virginia to approve its first-ever commercial casinos in 2020 and D.C. to legalize sports betting. Now Maryland officials hope BetMGM, along with the state’s five other casinos and three largest horse tracks, can begin sports betting as a way to keep up with their neighbors.
More background on legalization
Maryland was one of the first states to consider legal sports betting after the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban in May 2018. It would take almost two years before state lawmakers would pass a bill to do so — and even then, the decision was sent to the voters.
The court’s ruling in Murphy v. NCAA came too late in Maryland’s 2018 legislative session for lawmakers to finalize a sports betting bill that year. Backers in the General Assembly tried to pass a bill again in 2019, but the attorney general’s office determined any sports betting bill was subject to the state’s constitutional gambling ban. That meant voters would have to approve sports betting via a ballot measure, which couldn’t come until the November 2020 elections at the earliest. With no chance for final approval in 2019, lawmakers tabled the bill for the year.
In 2020, lawmakers again took up sports betting knowing that a failure would delay legal wagering until at least 2022. Despite bipartisan support early in the 2020 session, the COVID-19 pandemic cut short the legislative session and pushed lawmakers to curtail a more robust bill. They instead passed the limited measure that voters approved, giving the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission regulatory authority. All additional details were left to be hashed out by lawmakers. Lawmakers presented the final list of regulations in July 2021, and were looking good to launch at some point in the Fall.
On December 9, 2021, Governor Larry Hogan, joined by Washington football legend Joe Theismann, placed the first legal bets in the state’s history at MGM National Harbor – officially jumpstarting the Maryland sports betting market.
History of legal gambling in Maryland
Though Kentucky usually comes to mind when Americans think of horse racing, Maryland’s history in the sport is nearly as rich. For 150 years, Maryland has bred some of horse racing’s greatest champions and hosted many of its most iconic races. Home to Pimlico Race Course, the nation’s second-oldest commercial horse track, and host of one of the sport’s Triple Crown events — the annual Preakness Stakes — Maryland remains one of the country’s more viable horse racing markets, even as nationwide interest wanes.
In more recent times, Maryland has been better known for a growing casino market. Since New Jersey brought legal casino gambling to the East Coast in the 1970s, the entire Mid-Atlantic region has slowly embraced commercial gaming. Like several other states in the region, Maryland approved its first casinos within the first few years of the 2000s. By 2016, Maryland had six full-scale casinos, including MGM National Harbor. Located near the borders of D.C. and Virginia, the property is the highest-grossing casino in the state.
As the region continues to expand its gaming offerings, especially after long-time holdout Virginia approved its first casinos in 2020, Maryland has looked to stay ahead of regional competition in an increasingly saturated market. The prospect of statewide mobile sports betting could help attract new customers while keeping Marylanders from crossing state lines to wager.
In the 1870s, Maryland was a leader in commercial horse racing at a time when it was the nation’s only major legal gaming avenue. A century later it was one of the early adopters of a state-sanctioned lottery. With voters approving sports wagering in 2020 – as they did casino gambling in 2008 – Maryland should again be a relatively early adopter, this time as one of the second wave of states with statewide mobile sports wagering.
Maryland Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in the state of Maryland?
Yes! Voters in Maryland approved legalizing sports betting in a 2020 ballot referendum. The legislature then passed legislation to create the regulatory framework needed to bring legal sports betting to the state. That legislation was signed into law in May 2021. Regulators finished up the rulemaking and regulatory process in July of 2021 but approval of licenses for mobile sportsbooks has been frustratingly slow. Retail sportsbooks opened in five locations in December 2021 but bettors will be waiting until late 2022 for mobile betting, at the very least.
Who can place a real-money sports bet in Maryland?
State officials have not finalized eligibility requirements ahead of the voter referendum, but expect bettors age 21 and up that are physically located within state lines to be able to place a bet via a mobile device. There will also likely be certain additional eligibility restrictions, such as gambling self-exclusion lists.
How many online sportsbooks will be available in Maryland?
A lot! There could be about 40 locations that will offer retail betting via kiosk and, in an unusual move, the legislature approved a framework that includes the authority to approve up to 60 sportsbook licenses. Legislative leaders sought to bring minorities and women into the sports betting industry, and regulators will pay particular attention to ensuring small businesses and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to apply for a sports betting license.
Can I bet in other states or Washington D.C.?
Other neighboring states such as Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have already approved mobile wagering, but bettors may need to download separate apps when leaving Maryland and crossing into these other states. Washington D.C. currently only has one citywide mobile app which is run by the District lottery and is only available within city lines.
Will mobile sportsbooks offer bonuses for new players?
Yes. Maryland’s online sportsbooks will all have some sort of bonus offers. The leading nationwide brands will likely enter the market and will probably offer similar deals as in other states with legal wagering, including welcome bonuses, odds boosts and many more offers updated frequently.
What bet types and betting markets will be available?
Maryland regulators still need to finalize eligible markets, but all major professional and college sports including the NFL, NBA, NCAAB, NCAAF, MLB, NHL and many more will be available. Officials seem disinclined to ban wagering on in-state college programs, meaning bets on programs such as the University of Maryland should be permitted.
What options will I have for depositing and withdrawing funds?
Specifics over deposit and withdraw options are not yet finalized, but Maryland sportsbooks will probably allow at minimum deposits through credit cards, debit cards, ACH transfers, pre-paid cards, cash at casino cages and digital payment processors such as PayPal. Most if not all of these options will also be available for withdraws.