Maryland Sports Betting

Maryland bettors are well on the way to having access to legal online sports betting. State voters approved sports betting at the ballot box in Nov. ’20, creating the potential for several nationally-known sportsbooks to take a slice of the pie. How the industry will eventually look will largely be determined by which licensing framework bill can fight its way to the top and get past the governor’s desk.

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After the referendum to add sports betting to the Maryland Constitution was enacted by voters in November 2020, the next question is how to proceed. Maryland will need to establish regulations for legal betting in the state. That’s still the topic of the day, with licensing, taxes, and structures on the agenda for 2021.

Legal Sports Betting in Maryland

There is no legal structure for sports betting in Maryland yet, but a portion of the heavy lifting is already done. The state required a public vote before any form of gambling can grow. November’s results have now satisfied this requirement. Next up is to finalize and enact a bill to set up the structure of fees, available licenses, and eligibility.

The current bill that’s gaining momentum, HB 940, sets up the following licensing regulations:

The above structure is still subject to change as the bill has not been approved.

When can we expect a framework to be completed?

HB 940 is still working its way through the Maryland General Assembly. Therefore, we don’t have a precise timeline on when sports betting will be available in the state yet.

The GA’s session lasts 90 days, ending in mid-April ’21. It would need to move quickly to make its way through committee within that time frame. We won’t rule out the possibility of it happening sooner, but the framework may not come together until later on in 2021.

Eligibility

Sports betting is something for which each state can establish its own requirements, so rules vary between jurisdictions. Maryland seems likely to finalize sports betting with the following eligibility requirements:

Possible Maryland Online Sports Betting Sites & Apps

Since the rules and regulations are still being pieced together, we don’t know exactly how many sportsbooks will make it to MD yet. With a sizable population in relation to its size, Maryland will be a target for all major online bookmakers eager for a piece of the mid-Atlantic. Several of these operators are doing business already in neighboring states like Pennsylvania and Virginia.

HB 940 references the possibility of up to ten online sportsbooks available for users in the Old Line State. Here’s what that could look like:

Projected MD SportsbooksTech PartnerLaunch Date
DraftKingsSBTechTBA
FanDuelScientific GamesTBA
BetMGMIGTTBA
TwinSpiresKambiTBA
PointsbetPointsbetTBA
Caesars SportsbookCG TechnologyTBA
FOX BetStars GroupTBA
BetRiversKambiTBA
UnibetKambiTBA
Barstool SportsKambiTBA

FanDuel

FanDuel and is champing at the bit for Maryland to go live with both daily fantasy sports and online sports betting. This operator has a solid reputation for good user incentives and boosted bets.

FanDuel signed a strategic partnership agreement with The Cordish Companies in 2019. It’s expected that this operator will likely partner with Cordish-owned Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover, MD to offer sports betting both in-person and online.

DraftKings

DraftKings, like FanDuel above, will both benefit greatly from the passing of HB 940, even releasing an ad to promote the potential revenue from sports betting in the state. The bill includes language for DFS and online sports betting. Wide access to a new market would definitely be an enticing factor for this industry giant.

DraftKings has made a name for itself in online sports betting with its intuitive design, portability, and a wealth of markets.

At the moment, there’s no clear indication of who DraftKings will partner with to offer their services, but it’s rumored that Maryland State Fairgrounds is looking for a partner for sports betting there.

Caesars Sportsbook

William Hill, now Caesars Sportsbook, has made great strides into the United States sports betting market. Now, it’s looking like this service will be one of the first to enter Maryland.

Horseshoe Casino is a Caesars-owned property in Baltimore. Thus, the way is already paved for Horseshoe to secure a license and offer wagering in the Old Line State. There’s also a chance that Golden Entertainment-owned Rocky Gap Casino Resort will be in contention for a Caesars Sportsbook.

PointsBet

PointsBet is a unique service dreamed up by Aussie sports fans and is now making waves in the U.S. In addition to traditional sports wagers, PointsBet has also pioneered “PointsBetting”. PointsBetting allows you to increase your potential payout based on the accuracy of your bets. The closer your pick is to a given real-life outcome, the higher your payout can potentially be. It works both ways though. If a PointsBetting wager goes wrong, it can go very wrong. The potential for big wins (or losses) makes it very entertaining.

BetMGM

BetMGM is one of the most expansion-focused and well-funded sportsbooks in the country. We’re expecting the service to be one of the first in line for a MD license. This betting platform brings you the experience of a huge name in worldwide gambling and entertainment, hosting a wide variety of bets and markets.

The MGM National Harbor was the site of an impromptu fireworks display in November 2020, announcing the enactment of legal sports betting in Maryland. This site was chosen for the fanfare in part because it’s likely to be one of the first locations to go live with sports betting when legislation is completed. Expect MGM to follow its Michigan blue print, with an in-person, B+M sportsbook at the National Habor location operating hand in hand with the BetMGM mobile app.

Unibet

Unibet started in the UK as a fan-created book looking to offer sports bets over the phone, and almost immediately got into the newly growing world of internet betting. Now that it’s legal in the states, Unibet has made an impression in several jurisdictions like New Jersey and Indiana. Heavy on the stats and easy on the eyes, Unibet will be a player to beat when it goes live.

FOX Bet

FOX Bet is the betting arm of FOX Sports, one of the biggest names in sports media and entertainment. The operator has a potential pathway to the state through an association with the Stronach Group, parent company of the Laurel Park, Rosecroft, and Pimilco Raceways. Stronach was the owner of Horse Racing TV until it was purchased by Flutter Entertainment, parent company of FOX Bet.

TwinSpires

Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) and its TwinSpires (formerly BetAmerica) sports betting brand are growing in presence. This well-rounded platform will likely secure its piece of the Maryland pie. CDI is also the parent company of Berlin, MD’s Ocean Downs Casino & Racetrack.

BetRivers

BetRivers is a Rush Street Interactive (RSI) brand with legal sports betting and online casino games being offered in numerous states. Know for their ludicrously easy to clear welcome offer, BetRivers is popular wherever it has hit the market. A strong presence in both neighboring PA and VA increase the likelihood of activity in Maryland.

Barstool Sportsbook

Barstool is one of the nation’s most popular sports blogs and a growing force in online sports betting. Penn National Gaming (PNG), purchased a stake in the company in order to use it as its primary iGaming brand of the future.

This is another instance of a sportsbook that we expect to come to the Maryland betting scene based on ownership. Hollywood Casino in Perryville, MD is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties, which is a part of Penn National Gaming.

Washington Football Team’s Proposed Sportsbook

Washington Football Team’s owner Dan Snyder has expressed interest in a sports betting kiosk or lounge at the team’s stadium. FedEx Field is currently located in Prince George’s County, MD, about 5 miles away from Washington, D.C. Snyder has even gone so far as to say he would relocate the team, if necessary, to pursue sports betting on site.

The Football Team has FedEx leased through 2027, but beyond that their plans are unknown. D.C., Virginia, or staying in Maryland remain options. If a new stadium isn’t in the cards, significant renovations to FedEx may be on the agenda – including the addition of sports betting infrastructure for game days.

Maryland Online Sports Betting Platforms

Online sports betting in Maryland will be available on a variety of tech platforms. This includes mobile devices of all shapes, sizes, and operating systems – as well as on computer through a web browser.

iOS

Bettors with Apple devices will have access to Maryland sports betting apps through simple downloads via the iOS app store. Maryland sports betting apps are fast, convenient, and can follow you throughout the state. You will have to grant the app access to your phone or tablet’s location services though, so it can verify you are in the state.

Android

Android users will have access to the same features and bonuses as iOS and browser users. Direct app downloads will be available on your chosen sports betting website, plus Android app stores are expanding their iGaming horizons.

Additionally, as with iOS devices, make sure you’re sharing your location through the app whenever you’re making a legal wager: you must be in Maryland to do so.

Browsers

While on a computer, fire up your favorite web browser and visit your favorite MD sports betting website. Real money betting will be supported through all major browsers, Chrome, FireFox, Edge, Safari, etc.

You’ll need to download and enable a geotagging plugin when wagering real money using the browser version of a given online sportsbook. This is to ensure you’re physically in the state when wagering.

Other than that, the process of betting is much the same as it would be on a mobile device, with the added bonus of viewing the site on a larger screen. Betting from a web browser via a computer is a little less portable, though – and requires a stable WiFi connection.

Bet Types and Markets Coming to Maryland

This is the meat of the issue: when Maryland online sports betting goes live, what kind of bets will you be able to place, and on which sports? It’s expected that you’ll be able to bet on all major sports in a bunch of different ways. This includes the Washington Football Team, the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Ravens, and any other local fan-favorites.

Variety of Bets Available

The whole spectrum of bet types will be available on Maryland online sports betting sites. Whether you’re new to sports betting or you’re a seasoned veteran, you’ll be able to access variety that includes:

Leagues and Markets

When sportsbooks go online in Maryland, you can expect to bet on a good variety of popular national and international sports leagues, potentially including:

This list is subject to change, but no matter your sporting passion, the odds indicate you’ll be able to put some money on it in MD.

Payment and Withdrawal Methods

Legal online sportsbooks offer a good selection of available banking methods. When you’re getting online with a new service, the first thing you’ll want to do is fund your account. Of course, making withdrawals is always fun, too.

There are no restrictions to payment methods as the law is currently written in Maryland, but we’re expecting a more specific framework to finalize by the end of 2021. When sites go live, some or all of the following payment methods will be available:

Benefits of Using Legal, Regulated Sites and Apps

Unlicensed offshore betting sites located in other countries often advertise “legal” bets for U.S. customers, but are best avoided. These offshore websites are infamous for having security and safety protocols that are lacking. If you’re looking to bet online, legal is the way to go, which is why it’s great news that sports betting is now on the Maryland Constitution. Overall, regulated sites are better because of:

Retail Betting Locations in Maryland

There are a number of existing casino and racetrack locations in the state that will be sportsbook-ready as soon as they are legally permitted. These include:

There are also race track locations that will be eligible for licenses:

Additionally, sports teams such as the Washington Football Team are pushing to be allowed to offer sports betting kiosks at stadiums such as FedEx Field.

History of Betting in Maryland

Horse Racing

Maryland is an early bastion of horse racing in the country, and to this day is home to the second jewel of the Triple Crown: the Preakness States. Since 1870, this internationally famous race has been the proving ground for numerous Crown winners including War Admiral and Secretariat.

Lotteries & Casinos

No stranger to gambling, wagering in various forms has been available in Maryland since the 19th century. Lottery games have been available under the state’s commission since the 70’s, but casinos didn’t see the light of legislation until 2008. That year, voters approved a measure for slot machines.

In 2012, casinos became more fully realized in the state. A November decision allowed table games to be hosted at local casino locations. The following year, 2013, saw over $600 million in casino revenue. This beat local estimates by over $70 million and proved the worth of taxable, legal gambling in the state.

Sports Betting

After a few failed attempts, sports betting finally found its way to the MD state constitution in 2020 as part of a referendum to voters. Previous versions of a sports betting bill included House Bills 1014 and 1132, but they didn’t make it through committee.

SB 4 was voted in by the public in November 2020, effectively legalizing the process of online and in-person betting.

As with most state laws regarding sports betting, the legislature has to pass two essential bills since wagering isn’t already legal.

  1. Legislature to empower existing gaming commissions or lotteries to provide sports wagering, or to create a regulatory body to oversee gambling. (SB 4)
  2. Once a law allowing for legal bets is in place, another bill must be agreed upon to serve as a framework for licensing, taxation, available markets, and limits. (Pending)

As of early 2021, Maryland online sports betting is at step two. The language of HB 940 will allow for a full sportsbook experience in addition to fantasy sports, widening the choices for sports fans all across Maryland.

FAQ

Why do sportsbooks need my location and SSN?

All legal and regulated sportsbooks in the country are required to prove that customers are of legal betting age when using the service: this requires the last four digits of your SSN. Additionally, they must show that customers are only placing real-money wagers from inside their state.

For example, if you’re betting underneath the Maryland section of the BetMGM website or the MD version of the BetMGM app, you can only wager within MD state lines. You can access your account from anywhere, you just won’t be able to bet.

Who is allowed to bet using online sportsbooks?

If you’re not barred by employment or self-imposed gaming restrictions, you’ll be able to bet as long as you’re 21+. As mentioned above, users can download the apps and access their account from anywhere. However, users can only engage in Maryland online sports betting from inside the state borders.

How do I know my money is safe?

Make sure you’re only betting with a provider that’s licensed with the MLGCA. Once you’ve signed up with a licensed, regulated provider, you can be sure that your money is safe.

All sportsbooks are required by state and federal law to offer numerous layers of security and user protection. Additionally, checking your location and having the last four digits of your SSN helps state regulators protect your identity.

When will online sports betting be available in Maryland?

While we’re still putting the pieces together, the puzzle currently points towards late 2021 or early 2022.