As Maryland bettors still wait for online sports betting to launch, retail sportsbooks saw a decline in action in February.
The five retail sportsbooks open for MD sports betting took $25.5 million in February bets, according to a Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency report Thursday. It was the second full month of operation for the sportsbooks following a staggered launch in December.
The handle was down 21.5% from January’s $32.5 million. The drop is likely because of the relative lack of NFL betting.
Maryland revenue drops too
Maryland sportsbooks held 3.7% for $955,377 in revenue.
That is down from the $4.4 million in revenue generated in January.
The state collected $134,628 on the taxable sports betting revenue.
Online sports betting crucial for growth
There are four retail sportsbooks in the pipeline set to open soon, which could boost the state’s handle. However, Maryland sports betting is unlikely to see significant growth without online wagering.
One does not have to look farther than Louisiana, which launched retail sports betting Oct. 31. In November, Louisiana sportsbooks took $27.6 million in bets.
In January, LA retail sportsbooks handled $49.3 million. Online sportsbooks in Louisiana launched Jan. 28 and saw $40.5 million in four days of action.
When does online sports betting come to Maryland?
The launch date for online sports betting in Maryland remains in the air. There is also no clear answer to when Marylanders might know when they can place bets online.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission cannot set the rules for mobile license allocation until it receives a new disparity study. That study determines if there needs to be extra effort to include women- and minority-owned businesses in the sports betting industry, as required by the MD sports betting legislation.
As of the last SWARC meeting last month, the state has yet to finalize the contract for the study. The SWARC meets again next week.