The online Maryland sports betting online market is off to a hot start after a two-plus year wait.
Marylanders wagered $186.08 million online from Nov. 23 to Nov. 30 (plus an eight-hour soft-launch on Nov. 21) in their first nine days of legal online sports betting, per numbers released Monday by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission. That included $63 million in free bets given by online Maryland sportsbooks.
Maryland legalized sports betting in the 2020 election, though its waited more than two years for an online market. That is because of legal and bureaucratic hurdles that angered many, including Gov. Larry Hogan.
Maryland is the 10th-most populous state with a legal and live online sports betting market. For comparison, New York, the most populous state live with online sports betting, reported $603 million in its first nine days, a figure which also included promotional play.
FanDuel, DraftKings lead MD pack
FanDuel took the lead in Maryland early on, with transactions on its mobile app accounting for almost half of what Marylanders bet so far. The full handle breakdown by app:
- FanDuel: $89.9 million (48%)
- DraftKings: $69.6 million (37%)
- BetMGM: $15.07 million (8%)
- Barstool: $5.5 million (3%)
- Caesars: $3.46 million (2%)
- PointsBet: $1.6 million (0.86%)
- BetRivers: $631,175 (0.34%)
Maryland sports betting consistent with rest of country
That breakdown is relatively consistent with the rest of the country, according to a study from Vixio Gambling Compliance which shows FanDuel owning nearly 40% of the U.S. market.
Meanwhile retail sportsbooks reported $32.9 million in handle, slightly down from October, but still their second-most in one month since launching in Dec. 2021.
Promos eat up taxes in Maryland
Of the seven apps to take bets, BetRivers was the only one to pay taxes, generating $4,261 to state education.
The rest deducted more than $38.2 million in free promotional play and after payouts to winning players.
Like other many other states Maryland allows sportsbooks to deduct revenue from promotional bets, a tactic also pushed by the legal industry as a way of combating the offshore market.
Regulator: Maryland sports betting promo pace ‘not sustainable’
Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said in a press release:
“We expect mobile sportsbook operators to continue to offer a lot of promotional wagers in the coming months as they venture into a new market and work to attract customers. There was tremendous pent up demand, and a lot of people are utilizing promotional offers from multiple operators simultaneously.
“But as many of the operators have acknowledged, this level of promotional play is not sustainable, and based on our regulations, it will be curtailed over time.”
Some states like Virginia and Colorado have changed their laws to no longer allow these writeoffs. Other states like New York outlawed the practice from the start.
The state taxes sports betting revenue at a 15% rate. A fiscal note attached to the Maryland sports betting law estimates it will raise that state between $17 million and $19 million a year in taxes. Its retail market, which went live in Dec. 2021, has generated more than $6 million in 11 months.