Maryland Sportsbooks End 2023 With Record $560M Handle In December

Written By Hill Kerby on January 11, 2024 - Last Updated on January 12, 2024
Graphic of man climbing up a hill with years 2023 and 2022 on story about December sports betting revenue in Maryland.

December put the exclamation mark on a record-setting 2023 for Maryland sports betting.

Maryland sportsbooks set new highs in betting volume for the second month in a row. Their $559.9 million total handle represented a 1.7% increase from November’s previous record of $550.7 million.

Sports betting prizes totaled $497.5 million (11.1% hold) and resulted in a $43.2 million taxable win after applicable deductions. The total win was tops in state history and brought about another record, $6.5 million in state tax contributions.

Online sports betting continues to triumph

In addition to growing month-over-month, Maryland sports betting handle exhibited a 12.6% year-over-year growth. December 2022 was the first full month of mobile sports betting in the Old Line State and generated $497.1 million in handle. That figure remains third all-time and was unsurpassed until November.

Mobile sports betting is the primary reason Maryland has been able to transcend half a billion dollars in monthly wagers. Before the November 2022 mobile launch, sports betting handle never exceeded $40 million in a month.

In December, mobile wagers accounted for $541.7 million (96.7%) of the monthly handle. Retail sportsbooks accepted the remaining $18.2 million (3.3%). Those numbers are close to November and show a slight increase in mobile dominance from a year earlier.

  • November 2023 handle: $533.3 million online (96.8%); $17.4 million retail (3.2%)
  • December 2022 handle: $478.3 million online (96.2%); $18.9 million retail (3.8%)
Graphic of what sports were bet on in December 2023 in Maryland.
Parlays continue to be the dominant choice among Maryland sports bettors.

Parlays prove their popularity (and their profitability)

The Maryland Lottery’s report breaks down wagering statistics by individual sport. Of those sports, professional football and basketball reigned supreme.

Football’s $92.3 million handle accounted for 16.5% of all wagers in the state, likely fueled by the Baltimore Ravens’ march to claim the top seed in the AFC. Basketball’s $79.3 million (15% of wagers) was second, well ahead of the next-closest sport in college basketball ($35.2 million handle; 6.3% of wagers) and college football ($27.3 million handle; 4.9% of wagers).

The top four verticals combined for $238.9 million in total wagers. Amazingly, that total didn’t match the $254.8 million wagered on parlays in December.

Parlays were unmatched in popularity, accounting for 45.5% of Maryland sports wagers in December. They also were Maryland sportsbooks’ best bets, resulting in a $48.5 million (19%) hold.

Live! Casino dominates mobile; second in retail behind MGM National Harbor

Twelve mobile sportsbooks make up the Maryland sports betting landscape. Of them, Live! Casino‘s $245 million handle accounted for 45.2% of all sports betting volume in December.

Even more impressive, its 13.7% hold and $27.5 million in taxable winnings comprised two-thirds of the state’s monthly sports betting tax bill.

Live!’s dominance becomes even more evident when you look at how the rest of the market shakes out.

Although a much smaller market, MGM National Harbor remained on top with $6.9 million in retail handle. Five more retail sportsbooks totaled seven-figure handles:

More success expected in 2024

Sports betting is a seasonable business. January marks the NFL playoffs, which typically produce strong numbers, though less robust than November or December due to a drop-off in games.

The Baltimore Ravens have secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which will increase interest for January betting volume. However, they also receive a first-round bye, which will hurt it.

Regardless, February will dip as the Super Bowl becomes the only football game left to bet on. Then, March Madness takes the torch.

But spring and summer follow, and they are slow months for sports betting until football season returns. Maryland’s sports betting market is maturing nicely, and 2024 will bring continued success.

All this said, sports betting revenue is the tip of the iceberg compared to what Maryland online casinos could generate for the state. Sen. Ron Watson recently wrote an iGaming bill he plans to introduce in the 2024 legislative session.

Online sports betting was slow to come to fruition but made a significant impact once it did. The odds are against online casinos becoming legal this year, but it’s not impossible. No matter what, any momentum toward passing iGaming legislature is a win for 2024.

And an increase in YoY sports betting figures will be pretty nice, too.

Photo by Shutterstock / Illustration by PlayMaryland
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of legal, safe, and responsible gambling. He feels fortunate to be able to contribute to the growing betting industry through his writing, primarily using his background in poker, sports, and psychology to do so.

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