Maryland Sports Betting

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?

Sports bettors in Maryland can currently only bet via retail sportsbooks. Voters approved legal sports betting in November 2020, and legislators subsequently passed the relevant Bills in April 2021, allowing for the first retail sportsbook to open in December 2021. However, the contention around online sports betting continues within the state, with Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency confirming that this option will not be available to Maryland residents until at least the Autumn of 2022. The Senate has technically approved the legislation, but it will take several months before the terms of this type of betting are established.

So, while progress has been achieved in the state, to place a wager on any sporting event involves attending a sports wagering lounge, or self-service kiosk in a licensed retail facility. Sports bettors must also be at least 21 years of age to bet legally in Maryland.

The discussion around sports betting legislation has been bubbling in the state for several years, frustrating many and invoking a great deal of debate and the creation of many proposals. In February 2018, lawmakers introduced sports betting legislation titled HB 1014 ‒ a bill that sought to force a public referendum on the legalization of sports betting. Although the bill was unsuccessful and died in committee just a month later, it made it past the House vote with very little opposition. 

 

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.

While it’s now possible to place bets on sports via retail sportsbooks, the legislation needed to allow online betting is still weighed down in a regulatory tangle. Neverthelesss, let’s look at some of the sports, and the specific Maryland sports teams, that fans can wager on within the Old Line State.

Basketball

While there are no Maryland teams present in the NBA, its premier college basketball team, the Maryland Terrapins, play in the NCAA Big Ten Division. Winners of the Championship in 2002, the Terrapins have appeared in the final four of the competition on two occasions ‒ once in 2001, then again a year later. For the 2021-2022 season, they finished 11th in the division. If you want to get involved in Maryland sports betting and basketball is your game of choice, wagering on college basketball is legal throughout the state. 

American Football

Maryland is represented in the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens at the M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens have fared pretty well in the history of the NFL, qualifying for the playoffs 13 times since 2000, and achieving two Super Bowl titles first in 2001 against the New York Giants, then again in 2013 where they defeated the San Francisco 49ers.

Baseball

Looking for Maryland sports teams to back in the MLB? Then the Baltimore Orioles, playing from The Oriole Park at Camden Yard, are the ones for you. In earlier years, the O’s had great success, appearing in six World Series fixtures between 1966 and 1983, and winning three of them in 1966, 1970 and 1983. At present, they stand fifth in the East American League with plenty left to play for in the season.

Hockey

While Maryland isn’t represented in the NHL, the Maryland Blackbears compete in “the league of opportunity”, aka the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The team is fairly new on the scene, having only been founded in 2018, and as such, they stand as the first team from Maryland to play in the NAHL. Hockey season doesn’t begin until October so there’s plenty of time to get accustomed to the team updates, and prepare your sports wagering tactics for the season ahead.

Will Maryland Sports Betting Sites Offer Bonuses?

At present, it’s illegal to bet on sports online in Maryland, so we can only speculate on what may be on offer once the availability is extended to online sportsbooks. We will use other states as a likely parallel in order to reasonably assume what we can expect to see, from the range of promos and bonuses to the listed payment options. Let’s first take a look at specific bonuses we imagine will be available at Maryland sports betting sites. 

Matched Deposits

A standard bonus offer that’s typically found on online betting sites is a matched deposit. In simple terms, a matched deposit means that whatever value of deposit you put down will be matched by your selected online sportsbook – it usually reads as a percentage from 25% up to as high as 200%. As generous as this may sound, you will, of course, come across terms and conditions of use. The offer is always weighed down by wagering requirements, so it’s important to read the T&Cs in full before committing.

Free Bets

A great welcome for new customers, free bets allow punters to branch away from their usual playing format without having to stake their own cash. As we always recommend, read through the terms and conditions related to your chosen bonus offer, as it won’t often be as simple as accepting a free bet and having an open choice across the whole site. Typical terms can relate to a deposit requirement, or the free bets only being valid with particular betting types and at certain odds, so be certain of all possibilities before accepting and placing a deposit. 

Risk-Free Bets

A risk-free bet is when an online sportsbook offers a return on your bet, even if you lose. It will never be a huge amount, but you’ll likely be offered free credits or maybe a second chance at betting on a game. Risk-free bets are a common welcome bonus offer and can be a reassurance to new players that all hasn’t been lost. T&Cs may include caps on winnings and withdrawal restrictions.

What Payment Methods Will I Be Able to Use?

You will always find a wide range of payment methods available at online sportsbooks, so we don’t doubt that Maryland sportsbooks will be any different. Each payment method has its own pros and cons, and you may find that some come with restrictions on accessing certain betting bonuses. Have a read through and work out which payment method is best for you. 

Debit Cards

Always available when it comes to sports betting, debit cards are a reliable way of betting on your favorite team. Although there are many other methods that offer much faster withdrawal times, you won’t ever have trouble finding a sportsbook that accepts debit cards, and this method will always qualify you for bonuses. If you’re a Visa debit card holder, you may be able to use Visa Fast Funds to shorten the withdrawal time from a few days to 30 minutes.

e-Wallets

e-Wallets are a quick and safe way to ensure your money gets to where it’s meant to be. Nearly everyone has heard of PayPal but there are other e-wallet options such as Skrill and Neteller, all of which are ideal for those a bit wary of handing over personal banking information to an online betting site. e-Wallets often come with the option of an app, so it’s really easy to keep an eye on your transactions, request withdrawals, or process payments while you’re out and about. Be mindful that some online sportsbooks will attach bonus exemptions to e-wallets.

Prepaid Cards

This payment method comes as a PIN number attached to vouchers that can be bought over the counter and used at Maryland sports betting sites. Having purchased the card, all you need to do is enter the PIN into your chosen online betting site, and your money will be transferred as a deposit. Prepaid cards, such as Paysafecard, are a safe way of wagering. You only have the value of the card to play with so you’ll find it hard to go over budget, and because you only need to enter the PIN number, none of your personal banking details are available to the site. The only downside is that most sites won’t be able to process withdrawals back into a Paysafecard account, so you’ll need to use a secondary payment method.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Maryland

Maryland sports betting is currently restricted to retail sportsbooks. However, if you really want to play online, there is one way bettors can place wagers, and that’s via daily fantasy sports. DFS betting is entirely legal in the state of Maryland, with DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo Fantasy Sports all offering popular services. We predict that with online sportsbooks, such as DraftKings, already being present in an online capacity in Maryland, once the application review is complete and online sports betting is legalized, sports fans will be able to use their DFS accounts to get straight on with betting on competitions such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS.

What Else Can I Bet on in Maryland?

If Maryland sports betting isn’t for you, there are a whole host of gambling verticals you can 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, baccarat, craps, sic bo, and various 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 [email protected] 24 hours
Ocean Downs 10218 Racetrack Road, Berlin, MD 21811, USA +1 410-641-0600 [email protected] Monday – Wednesday 8am – 4am
Thursday 8am-12amFriday – Saturday 24 hoursSunday 12 am – 4am, 8am – 4am
MGM National Harbor 101 MGM National Ave, Oxon Hill, MD 20745, USA +1 301-971-5000 [email protected] 24 hours

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: [email protected]

Who regulates gambling in Maryland?

The Maryland Lottery and the Gaming Control Agency regulates the Maryland state lottery, while the Maryland 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 bill 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. 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, and Maryland lawmakers began exploring how to go about introducing legal and regulated sports betting.

November 2020 – An election was held with Maryland voters supporting the installment of sports betting in the state. 

April 2021 – Bill HB 940 passed through Maryland State legislature, meaning sports betting was made legal.   

July 2021 Only a few months after the legalization approval, The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency approved the rules and specifications by which sports betting would be acceptable. 

December 2021 The first retail sportsbooks opened their doors, with the first bet being placed by Gov. Larry Hogan at the MGM National Harbor.

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.

We are now waiting for the finalization of the approved rules for online sports betting. However, it is expected that online sportsbooks in Maryland will be made available through FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, PointsBet, Barstool, and BetRivers.

The people behind this page

Compare.bet's online gambling content experts helped write, edit and check the content on this page:

Jake is a gambling content specialist for Compare.bet, with a focus on the regulated US market. He is responsible for producing news content for Compare.bet News, state guides for Compare.bet US and has interviewed several senior executives within the gambling industry. Jake previously wrote for Gambling Insider and LGBT+ news site PinkNews.