10 Ways Maryland Is Protecting Sports Bettors And The House

Written By Ethan Matthew on May 11, 2022

Retail sports betting launched in Maryland in December 2021 at five of the state’s six casinos. Because of that, new bettors may not be aware of the specific rules and regulations Maryland passed in order to govern the industry.

With in-person sports wagering expanding in Maryland and mobile sports crawling its way to an inevitable launch date, PlayMaryland wanted to highlight some rules and regulations bettors and sportsbooks must follow as they start operating. Below are 10 hand-picked rules and regulations one should know before getting involved. — Mandatory exclusion lists can be appealed after five years.

First off, Maryland (through the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission’s Director) can place any individual on an exclusion list. That person cannot bet or physically be in a betting location (not an entire casino, for example, just the sportsbook lounge).

Once that person is notified via a letter, the bettor can request a hearing to appeal. In the scenario where they are unsuccessful, the bettor is placed on the exclusion list.

After five years on the list, the now-former bettor can ask the Director to reconsider. Their request needs to include a “good cause for removal of the individual from the list.” They also need to describe a “material change in the individual’s circumstances since the individual’s name was placed on the list.”

The Director may still reject the claim and, if so, the person in question can register one final appeal. — Sportsbooks cannot accept a Social Security check, an unemployment insurance check, a disability payment check or a public assistance check.

Certainly, in an attempt to prevent State assistance money from being used to bet, Maryland does not allow a sportsbook to take any check you hand them. 

Included in this rule is another provision that prevents sportsbooks from accepting more than $30,000 on any given day. All of this is meant to stop the bettor from gambling too much. — You can’t pay for an in-person bet with a credit card.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Physical sportsbooks must take cash but online sportsbooks can use a credit card to fund your account. This rule also bans electronic transfers if they come from your credit card.

If you do use a credit card to add money to an online betting account, the licensee cannot sneak in fees. The bettor must be told that there can be fees. — If a bettor complains to a sportsbook about a payment or their operation in general, they must work to resolve it within three days.

For those worried about a sportsbook pulling a fast one on you or your fellow bettor, Maryland set up a system to review claims. If after three days, you and the sportsbook don’t settle a specific dispute then the licensee must notify the Commission. The Commission then conducts its own investigation. — Bettors can’t withdraw more than $2,500 from an ATM at a betting location. And any promotional offers must be sent to Maryland at least two days before implementation.

Two rules from this section protect the bettor. The first prevents all ATMs on the premises from accepting a withdrawal of over $2,500. Presumably, this is to stop anyone from spiraling out of control.

The second rule breaks down all of the procedures sportsbooks must adhere to when it comes to promotional offers. In short, they must publish the terms and conditions in a clearly stated format. — Sports betting tickets must include the date, amount, description, etc., and must not expire before 182 days from the conclusion of the sporting event.

The first half is understandable. It’s always helpful to include as must information as possible. This is especially true on a betting slip so all parties are clear on the terms.

The second part adds a point of clarity. Both the bettor and the house are protected by laying out a set timeframe where the sportsbook must accept a winning ticket. Included in this regulation is a rule that winning tickets of $3,000 or more must be collected at the cashier’s cage. — Sixty days before launch, a sportsbook must show Maryland a diagram of its systems’ procedures and protocols.

This regulation gives the state valuable information on each sportsbook to determine its preparedness for every situation. It also shines a light on each licensee to make sure they serve as a fair business to its bettors. Some of the specific information that must be provided are:

  • A description of the duties and responsibilities of each position shown on the organizational chart.
  • Procedures for identifying and reporting fraudulent, suspicious, or unusual wagering activity.
  • Procedures to be utilized by an employee of a sports wagering licensee in the event of a malfunction of sports wagering licensee’s website, platform, and equipment. — The State may conduct an unannounced inspection and check the equipment, software, ledgers, etc.

In the rare circumstances where a sportsbook starts raising eyebrows within the state, this rule allows Maryland’s Commission to investigate any licensee without warning. And since other regulations force sportsbooks to keep extensive records if there is any malfeasance, Maryland will find out. The inspector can also seize a lot of items, including cash boxes and ledgers. — Maryland can fine sportsbooks $5,000 every day (for every violation) or suspend their wagering license.

What happens when a sportsbook breaks Maryland’s rules? When it comes to enforcement, the law provides a couple of methods, suspensions, and fines. The Commission is limited to a daily $5,000 fine per violation. However, its ace in the hole to punish a licensee is its ability to suspend or revoke a sportsbook’s license. — You cannot give away drinks or sell them at a discount.

This is an unexpected rule for this author. If a sportsbook is thinking of ways to keep a bettor in its lounge, it can’t use free alcohol or food to entice them.

Additionally, the food and drink a licensee offers must be priced to match the County Alcoholic Beverages Licensing Authority. So, no one-cent beers.

For interested bettors, the entire list of rules and regulations can be found here.

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Ethan Matthew

Ethan Matthew was born and raised in Silver Spring and has written articles for PlayVirginia and George Washington University's HNN. He also researched and wrote content for museum exhibits in both Boston and Washington, DC.

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