In its first full month of betting, the Maryland sports betting handle nearly doubled since the industry launched in December. According to numbers released by state regulators, sports bettors in Maryland bet $32.5 million in January.
Those numbers represent a nearly $16 million increase from December’s $16.5 million handle. However, gamblers only had roughly half the month to place bets.
Gov. Larry Hogan placed the first sports bet in state history on Dec. 9 at MGM National Harbor. Furthermore, only MGM National Harbor, Live! Casino and Horseshoe Baltimore opened its sportsbook on the first day. Ocean Downs Casino and Hollywood Casino Perryville began accepting bets later that month.
On the other hand, Rocky Gap Casino has yet to open a sportsbook. It leaves just five locations for betting in the state.
Those five sportsbooks generated $4.3 million in taxable revenue on the total handle. The numbers translate to a hold of 13.4%.
January sports betting handle breakdown
MGM National Harbor was the most profitable of all five Maryland sportsbooks with more than $1.6 million in gross sports betting revenue. However, it did not have the highest handle, which is the total betting volume, of the bunch.
That distinction belongs to Live! Casino and Hotel. The Fanduel Sportsbook at Live! Casino accepted nearly $14.4 million in wagers while profiting nearly $1.4 million.
By comparison, MGM National Harbor’s January handle was considerably lower at $10.5 million. If this type of handle disparity continues in the coming months, expect Live! to become the highest-grossing sportsbook in the state.
Here’s the sportsbook-by-sportsbook breakdown for January:
|MGM National Harbor||$10,562,319||$1,625,346||15.6%|
The handle discrepancy between the two books could be a simple function of location. MGM National Harbor draws more of its customer base from the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area. On the other hand, Live! Casino is more centrally located and pulls mostly from the greater Maryland market.
Both Virginia and D.C. residents have access to online and mobile sports betting. As a result, making a trip to a brick-and-mortar sportsbook becomes less appetizing for bettors.
The Maryland sports betting market does not have online or mobile betting. The state plans on rolling out an online market, but it has not laid out a timeline for it yet.
Maryland handle should continue upward trend
The increase in both sports betting handle and revenue for Maryland in January was expected. If for no other reason than the length of time that bettors have to place wagers.
But it’s likely that these figures will become larger in both the shorter- and longer-term time horizons.
February’s numbers will reflect the market’s first Super Bowl betting.
Then comes March Madness, when sports bettors can fire on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. And by the time April rolls around, Maryland gamblers will have three of the four major sports to bet on as baseball begins.
Looking even further past that, the eventual launch of mobile betting will give another boost to the market. Looking at other states, those with mobile and online betting have much higher numbers than markets without it.
New Jersey, which is considered the gold standard for American sports betting markets, does almost the entirety of its business online. In November, when the Garden State recorded a handle of $1.3 billion, approximately $1.2 billion of those bets were placed on the internet.
Virginia, which features an online-only sports betting market since the state is devoid of brick-and-mortar casinos (for now), was one of the quickest states to reach the $3 billion handle mark. It was reached in the first 12 months of the market.
Here’s the breakdown for Maryland’s first two months of sports betting:
|Month||Handle||Prizes paid||Hold %||Promo play||Taxable win||Taxes|
The hold for Maryland sportsbooks is well above the national average. It seems likely that as the market matures and bettors become sharper, the hold percentage will fall.