MD Gaming Director: Mobile Sports Betting Has Exceeded ‘Growth Expectation’

Written By Jason Jarrett on December 21, 2023 - Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Photo of a Maryland state flag and mug shot of John Martin on a story on how mobile sports betting is going in the state, according to the gaming director.

Mobile sports betting in Maryland has been a resounding success.

Don’t take PlayMaryland’s word for it — that’s according to the state’s lottery and gaming director, John Martin.

As a guest on Pressbox’s podcast hosted by Stan “The Fan” Charles last week, Martin delved into how the initial stage of mobile sports betting in Maryland is going, the impact of having successful pro teams in the state has on the market and what the future holds for operators in the state.

Maryland market will nearly double its expectation in first full year

According to Martin, the estimate for the tax contribution to the state was pegged at $25 million to $30 million annually. He told Charles the first fully operational year will exceed that expectation.

“We’re pretty close to fully operational now. We’re on a path now, our fiscal year ends June 30 (2024), when we wrap up the year we may be closer to $40 to $45 million,” Martin told the Pressbox. “It has certainly exceeded some of our growth expectations. Last reporting month, we had our largest contribution to the state at $5.8 million.”

Being close to fully operational has to do with “five or six people in the pipeline” that haven’t been able to put all of the resources to get into the marketplace, according to Martin. He says the market, which opened the week before Thanksgiving in 2022, is maturing with ESPN Bet Maryland and Fanatics Maryland entering it while Barstool and PointsBet leave.

Local teams and the MD sports betting market

The Baltimore Orioles won an American League-high 101 games in 2023, showcasing young stars Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson. The current No. 1 AFC playoff seed Baltimore Ravens continue their strong season versus the current No. 1 NFC playoff seed San Francisco 49ers this weekend. Martin believes these successful seasons feed into the growing popularity of mobile sports betting in the state.

“I think you can look at the players, the participants and what fans are into it,” Martin said. “A lot of fans are going to be homers…(popularity) very definitely rises and falls with the fortunes of the teams they follow.”

As mobile sports betting continues to surge in the state, Martin points out that the tax revenue associated with the six casinos in Maryland has flattened. Martin said this was expected, but casino revenue could be curtailed by a slow economy as well.

“I don’t think Maryland is any different than just about every other state.” Martin said. “I think you’re going to see that same thing common throughout (the United States).”

Sports betting revenue performance for 2023

As Martin notes, sports betting revenue continues its fall surge with the $5.8 million in tax revenue being the high-water mark for the state taking in one month.

On top of that October figure, November wagering activity broke another record — highest single month of total sports wagering handle. Bettors placed $550.7 million in wagers last month, 14% higher than October’s $483.1 million.

In November, FanDuel Maryland (in a partnership with Live! Casino) accepted $241.7 million in online wagers, a 45% market share. DraftKings Maryland garnered 31% of the market with $165.9 million in bets.

Photo by Shutterstock / Illustration by PlayMaryland
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Jason Jarrett

Jason is the managing editor and eight other states' websites, covering sports betting and gambling in the two states. He has more than 25 years of journalism experience, spending nearly 10 years as a senior editor at the Austin American-Statesman.

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