When will Maryland sports betting officially launch? It’s a question more and more Marylanders are asking as the state inches ever closer to retail and online sports betting.
As it stands, Maryland could have legal and regulated sports betting underway by the end of the year and before the start of the NFL Playoffs in January.
In 2020 Maryland voters approved of legal sports betting by a 2-1 margin. Ultimately, Maryland could be one of the country’s most robust markets. The state’s casinos, professional sports teams, and horse-racing facilities can apply for Class-A licenses for retail and online sportsbooks. Additionally, bingo halls, the state fairgrounds, OTBs, and restaurants/bars can apply for Class-B licenses. And a wide variety of enterprises can apply for one of up to 60 online sports betting licenses.
First, though, the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) and the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) have to approve licenses, and 17 pre-named entities will have some priority. Once licenses are awarded, those Class-A retail sports betting facilities could begin offering in-person betting as a prelude to online wagering.
We’ll use this post to share the latest updates heading into the market launch. The updates are time-stamped based on when we find the updates, not when they were first posted. Here’s the latest on the launch of legal sports betting in MD.
Maryland sports betting launch updates 2024
Jan. 27 updates
11 a.m. – New bill focuses on elbow room
Sens. Ronald Young (D-Frederick) and Michael Hough (R-Carroll) filed SB 297 on Sept. 19. The bipartisan bill would add some restrictions to where sportsbooks could be built and operate. The goal of the bill is to ensure that two sportsbooks aren’t located too closely together and fighting for the same retail customers, especially in lightly populated areas.
Jan. 25 updates
Noon – Focus on disparity study
The SWARC met and discussed updates on a disparity survey. The survey will help members decide if anything further needs to be done to increase the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in the MD sports betting industry. SWARC Chair Thomas Brandt said the group would not take any further action until the disparity study is complete, so it remains the No. 1 priority right now.
Jan. 13 updates
2 p.m. – Mobile betting targeted for 2022
Maryland Lottery & Gaming official John A. Martin tells PlayMaryland that full statewide mobile sports betting should launch by September. The delay for online betting has been an unfortunate bummer to Maryland’s sports wagering launch. But Martin said officials are working to expedite the process that had also slowed the debut of retail betting.
Jan. 10 updates
4 p.m. – MD casinos collect $16.5M in sports bets
Maryland casinos registered $16.5 million in total sports wagers after a mid-month launch in December, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming. Those five casinos ushered in the era of legal sports betting in MD. Although online sports betting will ultimately make or break the market upon its expected launch later this year, these initial retail betting numbers are encouraging.
Dec. 30 updates
7 p.m. – Late 2022 for online sports betting in Maryland?
With five Maryland casinos now offering retail sports betting, bettors are probably curious about online betting options. Unfortunately, a Maryland Lottery spokesperson said stakeholders don’t expect statewide mobile sports betting to be live until the start of the 2022 NFL season in September 2022, at the earliest.
Dec. 23 updates
5 p.m. – Barstool opens at Hollywood Perryville
As expected, Hollywood Casino Perryville opened its sports-betting operations on Dec. 23. It’s the fifth Maryland sportsbook – and the fifth to set up shop in a MD casino. Hollywood Casino Perryville is accepting sports wagers under the Barstool Sportsbook brand.
Dec. 17 updates
8 p.m. – TwinSpires opens at Ocean Downs Casino
Dec. 16 updates
2 p.m. – Greenmount Station qualifies for license
Greenmount Station, a restaurant and OTB located in Hampstead, is the latest entity to receive approval from the MLGCC for sports betting. Greenmount Station, one of Maryland’s 17 pre-named entities eligible for licenses, has formally met qualifications. Now, the venue awaits formal approval from the SWARC.
Dec. 15 updates
2 p.m. – Ocean Casino, Hollywood Perryville plan to launch this month
A total of five Maryland casinos could soon offer in-person retail sports betting. After three casinos launched operations from Dec. 9-10, Ocean Downs Casino (Dec. 17) and Hollywood Casino Perryville (Dec. 23) plan to join the mix before Christmas Day. Each casino is completing controlled demonstrations with MD Lottery & Gaming. If successful, they’ll then be able to begin accepting sports wagers on premises.
Dec. 10 updates
1:30 p.m. – Horseshoe Casino Baltimore kicks off sports betting
After MGM National Harbor officially kicked off MD sports betting on Dec. 9, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore accepted its first wager the following day at the on-site Caesars Sportsbook. PlayMaryland.com lead writer Chelsea Johnson was on scene for the festivities and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Baltimore resort, as well as the first bet from Gov. Larry Hogan:
Dec. 9 updates
4 p.m. – Maryland sports betting officially launches
Legal sports betting has finally arrived in Maryland! At 10:50 a.m., Gov. Hogan placed the first legal sports wager in Maryland history. He bet on a Washington vs. Baltimore matchup in the Super Bowl with his wager at BetMGM Sports Book & Lounge at MGM National Harbor. Two additional casinos will offer in-person retail betting beginning on Dec. 10. Other retail sportsbooks at casinos and OTBs will then begin opening in early 2022. However, full online sports betting could still be a year away for Maryland bettors.
Dec. 8 updates
2 p.m. – PointsBet teams with Maryland Terrapins
PointsBet Sportsbook has inked a multi-year partnership with University of Maryland Sports. The deal, which includes fan-facing in-game and campus activations, makes the Terrapins the first Maryland school and first Big Ten conference member to sign a deal with a sportsbook operator.
4 p.m. – SWARC approves Riverboat on the Potomac and Long Shot’s
The SWARC formally approved Riverboat on the Potomac and Long Shot’s for retail sports betting. The OTBs and sports bars will eventually undergo controlled demonstrations (a “soft launch”) to test their systems before launch, and if successful, the MLGCC can formally issue the licenses. They expect to go live sometime in early 2022.
Dec. 7 updates
4 p.m. – MD sports betting launches this week
Sports betting should officially launch in Maryland this week. In a matter of days, in fact. As expected, retail sports betting is first up, and statewide mobile betting likely won’t happen until the second half of 2022. On the retail side, officials announced that MGM National Harbor (partnered with BetMGM Sportsbook) should begin accepting in-person wagers on Thursday, Dec. 9. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (partnered with Caesars Sportsbook Maryland) and Live! Casino & Hotel (teamed with FanDuel Sportsbook Maryland) are expected to then launch on Friday, Dec. 10. All of the casinos have organized kick-off parties to usher in legal MD sports betting.
Dec. 3 updates
2 p.m. – Two OTBs qualify for licenses
The MLGCC qualified Riverboat on the Potomac and Long Shot’s for a retail sports betting license. The off-track betting facilities/restaurants now need the SWARC to sign off, which is expected. Both MD businesses were among the 17 pre-named entities that lawmakers had designated as eligible for sports betting.
Dec. 1 updates
3 p.m. – Nearby sports-betting markets heating up
Stakeholders in Maryland are undoubtedly excited by the sports-betting results in neighboring markets. In October, the results were impressive. Pennsylvania (a state record handle of $776.3 million) Virginia ($437.5 million, also a state record), West Virginia ($61 million, a 38% month-over-month increase) and Delaware ($22.2 million, the highest monthly handle in nearly three years) all capitalized on a busy sports schedule with big results at the legal sportsbooks. That’s going to bode well for future MD sportsbooks.
Nov. 20 updates
4:45 p.m. – PointsBet qualifies for Maryland sports betting
PointsBet has qualified for a spot in Maryland. After previously securing a 10-year deal with Potomac on the River, an OTB and sports bar on the MD-VA border, PointsBet officially received clearance from the MLGCC. Now, it’s up to the SWARC to sign off and for Maryland Lottery and Gaming to conduct a standard background investigation into the Australian-based bookmaker.
Nov. 19 updates
3 p.m. – Gov. Larry Hogan weighs in
After the SWARC finally green-lit five Maryland casinos for sports betting, Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement. The Republican governor had been critical of the delays, but with the Nov. 18 approval of the casinos’ licenses, he’s pledged to continue pushing for a speedy launch.
Nov. 18 updates
3 p.m. – SWARC approves casinos’ sports betting licenses
- Live! Casino & Hotel,
- MGM National Harbor
- Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
- Hollywood Casino Perryville
- Ocean Downs
The casinos were among 17 pre-named entities eligible for licenses. Now, with the SWARC’s blessing, they could begin offering in-person retail sports betting by the end of the year.
Nov. 17 updates
4 p.m. – Regulator frustrated with delays
During an industry webinar, John A. Martin, the director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, expressed frustration with Maryland’s inability to get sports betting launched. He blamed the delays on the state’s complex legislation, as well as the SWARC dragging its feet.
Nov. 10 updates
3 p.m. – No Maryland sports betting in 2021?
According to one regulator, sports betting in Maryland is unlikely to make its debut before the end of the year, with a January 2021 launch possible. However, that would be for in-person retail sports betting only. Online wagering, meanwhile, would still be months behind.
Nov. 2 updates
9 a.m. ET – Online sports betting delayed until fall 2022?
Although a Nov. 4 SWARC meeting could ultimately provide a timeline for retail sports betting in Maryland, the future for online wagering appears less certain. One report suggests the situation is such “a mess” that online sports betting may not launch until fall 2022.
Oct. 29 updates
3:30 p.m. ET – SWARC meeting scheduled for Nov. 4
The SWARC has rescheduled a canceled meeting for Nov. 4, at which point it could formally approve sports betting licenses for five of the six Maryland casinos. If they grant the licenses, in-person retail betting could be live by the end of November. However, it’s still unclear when online sports wagering could launch.
Oct. 22 updates
12:30 p.m. ET – Two more MD casinos approved
The Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission gave preliminary approval for Hollywood Casino and Ocean Downs for in-person sports betting. That means all but one Maryland casino (Rocky Casino Resort) have temporary approval. However, the SWARC has to give final approval, and there have been no signs of life with the regulatory body. Even Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has grown tired of the waiting and said he expects the SWARC to “swiftly approve these licenses.”
Oct. 20 updates
2 p.m. – Online sports betting delayed by a year?
The march toward legal sports betting in Maryland appears to have recently stalled. One regulator recently said it could be a full year before online betting is available in the state, and retail sports wagering also has had few recent signs of life. The various regulatory groups may be stuck on how to ensure small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses have a fair shake in the upstart industry.
Oct. 14 updates
3 p.m. – SWARC meeting postponed
A meeting of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission scheduled for Oct. 14 was ultimately postponed, and a new date wasn’t announced. Officials were expected to approve three Class-A licensees – for Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Live! Casino & Hotel, and MGM National Harbor – at the meeting.