7 Key Takeaways As Maryland Online Sports Betting Nears First Full Football Season

Written By Drew Ellis on August 16, 2023
Maryland online sports betting 9 months

It doesn’t seem like it, but Maryland online sports betting is already approaching a year.

November 23, 2022, marked a new day for the state. Since then, there’s been a lot of interesting developments in the online sports betting world.

From fast starts, to new operators, to operator changes, Maryland has seen a bit of everything over these last nine months.

Here’s seven key takeaways that we’ve seen during this period as Maryland online sports betting enters the final quarter of its first year of operation, and speeds toward its first full football season.

1. Maryland nearing top 10 in online handle nationally

While Maryland got started in late 2022, it’s tough to loop in the first two months to compare it’s progress to other states.

When just looking at the first half of 2023, Maryland finds itself 11th in online handle at $1.98 billion. That sits just behind Michigan for 10th ($2.07 billion) and just ahead of Tennessee for 12th ($1.96 billion).

Maryland’s top month in the standings came in June, when it landed 10th in online handle nationally at $243.8 million.

2. Online sports betting revenue soaring for Maryland

Though Maryland isn’t in the top 10 for online wagers, it is much higher up in regard to online sports betting revenue.

In the first six months of 2023, Maryland sits at $246.4 million in online revenue. That ranks seventh in the country. It surpasses the likes of Arizona ($232.9 million), Michigan ($190.7 million) and Colorado ($179.7 million).

Maryland’s 12.4% online hold (the percentage of wagers sportsbooks win) could be tough to sustain, but certainly plays a big factor in why its revenue standing is so much higher than its handle status. Every month of online sports betting in the state has featured a hold of 10% or greater.

3. FanDuel, DraftKings setting a brisk pace

Thus far, the Maryland online sports betting scene has been a two-horse race.

FanDuel Sportsbook MD and DraftKings Sportsbook MD have put themselves far ahead of the field in regard to wagers and revenue. That’s not surprising given their national recognition and willingness to spend promotional dollars upon launch.

FanDuel is the established No. 1, which goes along with the national narrative. It has generated $1.37 billion in handle thus far in Maryland. DraftKings sits second with $960.4 million. From there, it’s a long climb down to BetMGM Maryland in third at $268.9 million.

Revenue is similar, as FanDuel has mastered the art of the parlay. It’s online hold of 15.4% has allowed it to build $211.1 million in revenue over the nine months.

DraftKings has put together $112.8 million in online revenue with a hold sitting at 11.7%. BetMGM again sits in third with only $34.6 million.

4. Promotional offers on the decline

Not surprisingly, Maryland online sportsbooks came out firing with promotional offers upon launch.

In just nine days for November of 2022, operators dished out $63.8 million in promos. That was followed by $72 million in December, led by a whopping $40.1 million from FanDuel alone.

Since then, the numbers have taken a steady decline.

January featured just $22.8 million, while February had $16.7 million. After that, no month has reached $12 million. July totaled just $5.6 million.

With Maryland about to hit its first NFL/NCAA football kickoff, it will be interesting to see if operators go back to being heavy on the promos.

We’ve seen in other states that operators rely heavily on promotions at launch, then turn their focus to customer retention in Year 2.

5. Fanatics Sportsbook testing waters in Maryland

Fanatics is set to make a big splash in the United States thanks to its purchase of PointsBet’s assets in the country.

The memorabilia brand has already established itself as an online sportsbook here in Maryland, one of just four states to have it available, joining Ohio, Massachusetts and Tennessee.

June marked the first full month of Fanatics in operation in Maryland and it generated just $1.6 million in handle. That was good for just 0.6% of the state’s market share.

By comparison, Ohio’s Fanatics did $2.2 million in wagers, while Massachusetts did $1.9 million.

July saw Fanatics Maryland increase to $1.9 million in wagers, an 18% improvement. Its July performance outpaced PointsBet Maryland, which did just $1.7 million in handle.

6. ESPN Bet coming with strong Barstool foundation

Last week, PENN Entertainment announced it was dropping its partnership with Barstool Sports while coming to a new partnership with ESPN.

The pair of moves will see Barstool Sportsbook transition into ESPN Bet sometime during the football season. PENN has stated it is targeting a November launch for ESPN Bet.

Barstool Sportsbook MD has been a steady presence in the young Maryland sports betting lifeline.

It ranks fifth all-time in online handle ($78.9 million) and online revenue ($6.6 million).

Barstool’s spot in fifth is pretty secure as of now. BetRivers Sportsbook MD is a distant sixth with $33.7 million in all-time online handle.

7. Maryland sports wagering generates $25.3 million in state tax

This week, the Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency announced that sports wagering accounted for $25.3 million in contributions to the state during Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023).

That total helped contribute to the state’s overall contribution of $1.589 billion through gambling in the state.

While it’s a far cry from the $848.1 million generated by casinos, or the $714.3 million from the Lottery itself, it’s still a nice chunk of change.

Not to mention it’s a chunk of change that wasn’t available a year ago.

That $25.3 million went to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, which supports public education programs.

Photo by Shutterstock.com
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of PlayMaryland and PlayMichigan, covering the online casino and sports betting industries for the respective states. Prior to working with Catena Media, Ellis worked in the newspaper industry for over two decades, winning several awards for his writing and news coverage from the Associated Press and other organizations.

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