Maryland sports bettors are not going to have to travel to place a bet much longer. Sports betting is coming to the Old Line State quite soon. In fact, regulators and lawmakers are aiming to have the industry up and running by the time the Ravens and the Washington Football Team take the field in 2021. So, if you live in Maryland, it’s a good idea to start familiarizing yourself with how sports betting works.
Maryland’s sports betting law has allocated more license slots than any other state in the union. As many as 60 sportsbooks could gain the ability to open for business in the Free State. However, even with 6 million residents and more than 40 million visitors annually, it is unlikely that Maryland can sustain five dozen different sportsbooks.
Now, the idea that there will be so many different options in the state might seem overwhelming. The thing to realize, though, is that this much diversity of choice is going to be nothing short of golden for you, the Maryland sports bettor. Because there will be so much competition, sportsbooks are likely to bend over backward to attract your business. So, there will never be a shortage of great bonus opportunities and perks. As is always the case, when businesses fight over customers, the customers win.
If you’re not excited already, consider the fact that every single licensee can open a mobile sportsbook, too. So, whether you’re from the Old Line State or just planning to visit sometime soon, read on for all the latest on Maryland sports betting.
Last updated: July 12, 2021
This week should provide copious amounts of clarity about what the Maryland sports betting market will look like. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency is set to release its first pass at sports betting rules and regulations in its July 15, 2021 meeting. Once the rules are discussed, approved, and amended as needed, the commission will be ready to begin receiving license applications from companies interested in launching a sportsbook in the Old Line State.
The time between this week’s meeting and the opening of the licensing period will not be long. Thus, various government officials have already appointed six people to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, and Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson each had two appointments allotted to them, and with Hogan’s nominations on June 30, all three decision-makers had fulfilled their duty. The seventh and final seat on the licensing board belongs to the commissioner of the gaming commission, E. Randolph Marriner. However, it’s not clear yet whether Marriner will sit on the licensing committee himself or designate a substitute.
Nevertheless, things are going to move quickly, as Maryland officials have indicated that September 2021 is the targeted launch date for online sports betting in the state. However, it’s not clear if that date is completely doable at this point.
A draft of Maryland sports betting regulations is ready for its close-up after the MD Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s meeting.
Marissa Coleman, a University of Maryland alumna and entrepreneur, has and still is leading the charge to develop legal sports betting in MD.
Hopefully, before the beginning of the 2021 NFL season. As is often the case with states launching sports betting, Maryland is aiming to debut online sports betting apps in Maryland prior to Week 1. As football season is the most feverish time of the year for sports betting, this tactic is a common way to allow new sports betting markets to storm out of the gates at a gallop. However, it’s not certain that lawmakers, regulators, and sportsbook apps will make that date. A launch before the end of 2021, though, is a reasonable expectation.
Maryland is well into the process of bringing sports betting to life inside state lines. So, here are all the milestones that lawmakers and regulators have passed or will pass on the road to launch.
Nearly all of them. Because Maryland’s sports betting law allows the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to authorize up to 60 sports betting licenses, it’s hard to believe that any of the major sports betting sites won’t make an appearance in Maryland. So, here is the outlook the big sports betting brands that could debut in 2021.
Maryland launch chance: CERTAIN
Barstool Sportsbook is definitely going to launch in Maryland at some point. Thanks to Penn National Gaming’s purchase of the former sports blog, Barstool is now the brand name for the sports betting wing of one of the largest casino companies not named MGM or Caesars. Penn National’s many holdings include Hollywood Casino in Perryville, and there’s no doubt that Barstool Sports logos will soon adorn the property, either as advertisements for the mobile app or the branding for the onsite sportsbook.
Maryland launch chance: CERTAIN
BetMGM Sportsbook is a certainty for Maryland. Unsurprisingly, BetMGM is the sportsbook brand for MGM Resorts International, one of the world’s largest casino companies. Even if BetMGM did not own a property in Maryland, the sportsbook has had a propensity for early entrances into new sports betting states and would be an odds-on favorite to be one of the first books to launch in the state. Of course, MGM already calls Maryland home through its ownership of MGM National Harbor, just outside of Washington, D.C. In addition, BetMGM is the official gaming partner for the Baltimore Ravens. So, there’s no question that BetMGM will launch and online sportsbook in Maryland.
Maryland launch chance: CERTAIN
Caesars Sportsbook is a lock to debut in Maryland in one form or another. There’s simply no way that Caesars Entertainment is going to stand on the sidelines. For one thing, Caesars owns and operates Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. For another, Caesars is one of the largest casino companies in the world and has the wherewithal to launch in any state it chooses. CET is also the new owner of William Hill, a huge sports betting name in its own right, and thus has operations in every border state with Maryland except Delaware. The William Hill brand name is set to be phased out, so you’ll see the Caesars Sports brand in many places soon. Maryland is certainly on that list.
Maryland launch chance: CERTAIN
DraftKings is almost always on the shortlist of online sportsbooks first to launch in new markets and is never shy about expansion. In fact, DK is active in every sports betting state in the country aside from Nevada. Even more importantly, DraftKings contributed several hundreds of thousands of dollars to advance an advertising campaign in favor of the Maryland sports betting referendum in November 2020. If the company is willing to come that far out of pocket to push the agenda for Maryland voters, there’s no doubt that a DraftKings Sportsbook in Maryland is part of the plan.
Maryland launch chance: CERTAIN
Like archrival DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook has been one of the most diligent and aggressively-expanding sportsbooks in the last few years. The company has been part of the initial debut or early stages of sports betting launches in several states, and has been one of the top sportsbook brands in numerous locations around the country. FanDuel also donated large sums of money to the Maryland ad initiative that sought to push Maryland voters toward approving the sports betting referendum in November 2020. So, it’s quite clear that Maryland is part of FanDuel’s plans.
Maryland launch chance: CERTAIN
PointsBet is an Australian sportsbook that has made waves in recent years for its unusual signature product and its cannonball splash into the US. Now, thanks to one of the quirkiest in-state partnerships ever, PointsBet Maryland is sure to launch at some point. The deal is with the Riverboat on the Potomac, an off-track betting location in Colonial Beach, Virginia, which you may notice is not in Maryland. However, because the riverboat is actually on the Potomac River and the river is considered part of Maryland, Riverboat on the Potomac is one of four off-track betting locations eligible for licensing in the Old Line State.
Maryland launch chance: CERTAIN
TwinSpires Sportsbook is not a big name in the sports betting world, despite its golden pedigree. The sportsbook brand of Churchill Downs, the world-famous racetrack in Kentucky, is still a newcomer to outright sports betting and is scraping to grab market share from the big boys. However, the book has a leg up in Maryland because of Churchill’s ownership of Berlin Downs, the state’s only racino. Since we cannot imagine Churchill Downs missing out on such a natural expansion point, TwinSpires is a shoo-in to become a Maryland sportsbook.
Maryland launch chance: PROBABLE
BetRivers Sportsbook is the first major sportsbook on our list that we cannot be certain will launch in Maryland. Although the company is a big name and a major presence, particularly in the American northeast, it has no immediate ties to Maryland at the moment. Obviously, that situation could change at any time, and BetRivers Maryland would immediately become a certainty at that point. With that said, Maryland would seem to be right in BetRivers’ backyard, so it’s more likely than not we’ll see a debut from the Rush Street Interactive brand before long.
Maryland launch chance: POSSIBLE
WynnBet certainly has the pedigree and resources to pursue a sports betting license in Maryland. The sportsbook is the sports betting arm of the Wynn and Encore casino chain. Thus, it has plenty of brand recognition to use as a lever into new markets. However, WynnBet is a relatively new sportsbook app and is still early in its development of market share in other states. So, Maryland might not be the top spot on its priority list. With 60 spots available, WynnBet officials could also be thinking that there’s no particular rush.
Maryland launch chance: POSSIBLE
Bally Bet is one of the newest sportsbooks on the market and is still getting its feet underneath it. Although most people associate the Bally’s name with the Caesars-owned property in Las Vegas, the truth is that Bally’s is a conglomerate organization with multiple casino properties (among other things) operating under a variety of legacy brand names. Bally’s Atlantic City, Hard Rock Biloxi, and Tropicana Evansville are all Bally’s locations, but the Bally’s in Las Vegas is not. At any rate, Bally’s is looking to make some moves in the US right away, so a Maryland launch might make sense. However, the company does not have any Maryland assets, so we’ll have to wait and see if anything meaningful changes or the company submits an application.
While there is still nothing official about how sports betting in Maryland will actually work, it’s safe to assume that it will not reinvent the wheel. After all, it’s not good for a new industry to come with a steep learning curve. So, we can speak with a certain degree of confidence about the different procedures you will find for signing up and getting started when Maryland sports betting finally launches.
Before you do anything else, you’ll want to look through our list of links above for the top active sportsbooks in Maryland. Although the state’s sports betting market looks to be a crowded field, we can help you find the picks of the litter. Moreover, we have great bonus offers that you can use to supplement and augment your new accounts with each sportsbook. In many cases, you simply cannot find these offers elsewhere — we have many exclusive deals and relationships with various sportsbook companies that allow us to pass extra savings and perks along to you. Once you see an offer or book you like, make sure that you write down any associated bonus code, then click the link. Take care to write these codes down precisely, as both typos and capitalization errors could cost you the ability to redeem the offers.
Once you click the link, you should find yourself on a page with the two main device formats: Apple and Android. Choose the button appropriate for your device and press it. The button will whisk you to a familiar place — a download page for the app that is identical to the pages for other types of apps. Click the button to begin the installation process, and the sportsbook app will install itself onto your device automatically.
The next step after installing your chosen sportsbook is to register for a new account. Look for a large button at the top of your screen. It should say “Register,” “Sign up,” or something similar. It will be exceptionally obvious to find. Once you press the button, you’ll be asked to submit various pieces of personal information to create your account. Plan to enter the following details to the app:
Be prepared for the fact that you’ll have to prove your identity to the sportsbook at some point. You’ll either need to do it at registration or when you try to withdraw your winnings. So, you might have to present a driver’s license or passport.
Make sure to look out for a space to input your bonus codes, if any. Most registration screens have an optional box to enter into the system. Check over the code before you hit the “submit” button because these spaces are both case-sensitive and unforgiving about typographical errors.
After you create your account, you’ll end up in one of two places: the sportsbook’s lobby or its cashier. If you received any bonus money in your account, you can use it to place wagers. Otherwise, you’ll have to make a deposit through the cashier. It’s in sportsbooks’ best interests to make depositing as easy and inclusive as possible, so most apps have several different ways to put money into your account. Here are some common deposit methods:
Not every method will be available at every Maryland sportsbook app. It’s a good idea to check out the cashier before you get comfortable on a particular app, since it’s not a good idea to use a sportsbook if you cannot make a deposit or withdrawal there. Withdrawal methods are typically fewer in number than the deposit methods, so you might want to look at those, too.
If you look for sports betting sites in Maryland before launch, there’s an easy way to tell if the sites you can find are legitimate: They aren’t. It may be obvious, but many unlicensed sportsbooks are out there and seem to be reputable upon inspection. Don’t fall for the trap. There are many problems with playing on these sites, which we’ll discuss in a minute.
Once sports betting goes live in Maryland, however, it might be a bit more difficult to discern if a site is real or not. This problem is particularly true for Maryland, which is set to have as many as five dozen sites active in the state. Of course, most of the big names, like BetMGM, FanDuel, or DraftKings, will be easy enough to find. However, some of the smaller sportsbooks might be the real thing but not be known brands to you. Some of them might not even be known to us at first glance, and we write about gambling for a living.
Anyway, you will always be able to tell if a sportsbook is a regulated and legal site if you know what signs to observe. The very first thing to check is to see if there is a Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission logo somewhere on the main page. Check the image to the right if you need a reference for what the logo looks like.
Failing that, you can also look for the logo for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. This organization serves as a central coordination point for several Maryland government agencies and casinos for problem gambling efforts. Although it’s possible you might see this advertisement on an unregulated site, it’s unlikely that the illegitimate sites would want to draw the attention of the state government.
A more definite way to check out a site’s credentials is through the lottery commission website itself. States must always publish revenue reports each month detailing how each sportsbook has performed because they have to be transparent about the taxes they are collecting. So, if you look through the latest revenue reports that will begin appearing on the Maryland Lottery and Gaming website a month or two after sports betting launches, you will find an updated list of every single sportsbook authorized to operate in Maryland. If the site you’ve found does not appear on the list, then it’s not a legit site.
Finally, you can check out the site’s contact information if you want to be sure. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with international trade, legitimate Maryland sportsbooks will maintain their headquarters inside Maryland. Other sportsbooks will not, and will usually have their mailing addresses in places like Antigua, Aruba, or other locations in the Caribbean or Central America. Although it’s not a completely foolproof method, you should be quite wary about sites that list their details outside the US.
There will be plenty of sites in Maryland to choose from if you want to bet on the Ravens or WFT game. Don’t jump the gun and open yourself up to a giant headache just because you can’t wait to bet the over/under.
Pretty much everywhere in Maryland, and not just online. With so many MD sportsbook licenses up for grabs, there will likely be a sportsbook nearby, no matter where you are in the Old Line State. First and foremost, however, is that the mobile apps will allow you to bet on sports anywhere inside the state lines of Maryland. As long as you are physically located inside the state and (likely) over the age of 21, you’ll be good to go.
With that said, be prepared for the fact that you will have to prove that you are inside Maryland before you can bet. Simply stating that you’re in Maryland won’t work. Each sportsbook app uses geolocation verification software to pinpoint every player’s location inside the state (or not), and you will be denied service if the software cannot verify your physical location in the proper region. Lest you think that you might fool the system, be aware that geolocation verification software is actually quite accurate these days and can usually place you within a few feet of your actual location. The software uses your own phone or tablet’s GPS to its advantage, so it’s best not to think that you’re going to pull a fast one from somewhere outside state lines.
As far as retail facilities go, there are some locations that already have sports betting licenses set aside for their use. For those venues, live sports betting’s debut is simply a matter of time and logistics. However, we cannot be completely sure when these places will go live, so simply bear in mind that sportsbooks at these locations will arrive on a staggered basis. It is even possible that some might decide not to open, but we won’t know that for some time. Anyway, here are the automatic license holders in Maryland:
Please note that a license was set aside for G Boone’s Restaurant and Bar, one of Maryland’s off-track betting facilities. However, the facility appears to be closed permanently, and it’s unknown if any more licenses are set to be added to the mix.
In addition to these locations, the state has allocated 30 license slots to be available through a competitive bidding process. Almost any business entity in the state can submit an application, so there will be sportsbooks in bars, restaurants, smaller bingo halls, and other locations that are seemingly incongruent with gambling. However, with dozens of retail sportsbooks spread across a state with, frankly, not a ton of real estate, you’re probably going to be able to throw a stone and hit a Maryland sportsbook before too long – if you feel like going outside instead of betting in bed, anyway.
Maryland’s sports betting industry will be one of the largest and most diverse markets in the country once it gets up and running. HB940 establishes a framework for as many as five dozen online sportsbooks and almost as many retail sportsbooks in the Old Line State. The mobile licenses are available to any applicant deemed eligible by the gaming commission, but in practice, almost any business can apply. The law permits only one brand, or skin, per mobile licensee.
With regard to the retail sports betting licenses, here is a table that breaks down how each applicant will be classified:
|License||License Fees||Eligible Licenseholders|
|Class A-1||$2 million license fee|
$500,000 renewal fee every five years
|Casinos with 1,000 or more machines, horse racetracks and major professional sports facilities|
|Class A-2||$1 million license fee|
$300,000 renewal fee every five years
|Casinos with less than 1,000 machines|
|Class B-1||$250,000 license fee|
$50,000 renewal fee every five years
|Those who fit this license but are not small enough businesses for B-2|
|Class B-2||$50,000 license fee|
$10,000 renewal fee every five years
|Entities with fewer than 25 employees and $3 million in gross receipts|
|Mobile||$500,000 license fee|
$100,000 renewal fee every five years
So, based upon those criteria, here are the guaranteed licenses that are set aside for existing businesses in Maryland.
This license class is for the yet-unnamed 30 licenses set aside for small businesses with less than $3 million in annual revenue and fewer than 25 employees. So, through these licenses, bars, restaurants, and other small retail venues will be able to host their own sportsbooks, albeit small ones. These licenses will be subject to a competitive bidding process.
Aside from the different fees for each stratum of license, Class A and Class B licenses are mostly the same. Both pay the same rate in taxes (15%), and both authorize their holders to open both retail and online sports betting operations.
However, there is one clear difference that renders Class A licenses superior to the B licenses: location priority. Class A licenses are already set aside for existing venues, and Class B licensees must not intrude on Class A zones or be near one another. A Class B facility must not be:
As more details emerge from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, we will update this section. However, based upon the enrolled version of the law, this structure is pretty close to how things will proceed.
Yes. By virtue of Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature on HB940 in April 2021, both retail and online sports betting became legal in Maryland.
Nowhere just yet. Neither live nor mobile sports betting is underway in Maryland. Both regulators and interested observers are hoping for a launch by the end of 2021.
Yes. There is no restriction on betting almost any type of sports team that calls Maryland home. So, the Washington Football Team, Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, and any of Maryland’s college and university teams should be available for wagering in the Old Line State. The only prohibition is on high school sports. However, this restriction is universal in every single sports betting state, so it’s not like Marylanders are missing out on that great junior varsity volleyball action.
Most people, but there are some exceptions. The law lists several groups of people, like players, coaches, referees, and other principals in sports as prohibited from betting, along with anyone associated with the ownership or operation of a sportsbook in the state. As a general rule, if you have any prior experience or relationship with someone in a position to influence the outcome of sports bets, state law does not allow you to bet.
21. HB940 clearly states that individuals under the drinking age are not allowed to bet on sports.
Can you? Yes. Should you? No. Offshore sportsbooks are not a good idea for Americans to use. They can be sloppily or unfairly run and have the potential to be outright criminal enterprises. Without the backing of the Maryland and US legal systems, you should not feel comfortable sending a single scrap of information or a dime of your money to a sportsbook site.
Yes. In fact, if you were holding the world’s most specific trivia game, Maryland would be the answer to a question about which state was the first to make daily fantasy sports legal, doing so in 2012. However, it’s a bit of a trick question, because the first state to have legal DFS sites doing business is Virginia. Because the law that gave the state comptroller the authority to offer regulations and administer DFS presented a legal question (whether a constitutional amendment was necessary), it took four years for the Maryland attorney general to sign off on the law as proper. It took the comptroller another year to promulgate the rules after that, so legal DFS did not become active in Maryland until 2017, five full years after the initial law. All’s well that ends well, though, and Marylanders can play DFS as much as they like now.
Before 2018, there was no movement toward legal sports betting in Maryland. After all, with the federal ban on sports betting in place, any law to make wagering on sports legal inside a state would be a merely symbolic gesture. With the US Supreme Court’s dismissal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, new frontiers in gambling sprang open for all 50 states, including Maryland.
However, like many states, Maryland had followed the oral arguments for the case that took place in December 2017 and had concluded that a judicial negation of the bill seemed likely. So, House lawmakers in the Old Line State tried to get ahead of the curve by introducing a sports betting bill in February 2018. After about a month of discussion, HB1014 passed the lower chamber on its third reading by a whopping 124-14 margin. Then, the bill moved to the Senate, got referred to committee, and was never heard from again. Any momentum that the bill took out of the House hit a brick wall in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
Representatives in the House remained undaunted by the loss. They circled back around to introduce a new bill, HB1132, in 2019. Unfortunately, this bill had numerous logistical hurdles to overcome. A 2007 Maryland law had made any commercial gambling expansion subject to voter approval. The lawmakers, wishing to make an end run around this requirement, decided to place the law under the codicils of the state lottery. However, in doing so, the bill suddenly did not permit any of Maryland’s six casinos to participate in sports betting. So, the ill-fated bill came to a sudden end in the House Ways and Means Committee. On top of that, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh affirmed to legislators that a vote would, indeed, be necessary to offer sports betting expansion.
The third attempt to legalize sports betting came in 2020, and, initially, seemed to be proceeding along the same arc as the first two attempts. This time, the bill came from the Senate and became SB4. SB4 passed unanimously in the Senate, but stopped cold in the House. However, representatives in the House did not slam the door on the initiative in the same manner that their Senate colleagues had in the past. Instead, they stripped out the regulatory language and presented SB4 as a voter question on the ballot. The members approved, the senators approved, and in November 2020, the voters approved, too.
Thus, sports betting became a mandate from the people in Maryland. All that remained was to pass an enabling piece of legislation and formulate a set of rules to regulate and monitor the new industry. The enabling piece of legislation is the aforementioned HB940, and a draft set of the rules is forthcoming. With any good fortune, Maryland will have its sportsbooks up and running by the 2021 NFL football season in September. However, even if they don’t, they’re still going to launch as soon as possible. So, the future for online sports betting in Maryland looks bright and on the rise, and it all started just three years ago.