Maryland sports betting is off to the races as users migrate to online sportsbooks they waited years to see.
In December, $478.2 million in wagers were placed on MD sports betting apps, $70.9 million of which came as free promotional bets, according to numbers released Tuesday from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
Most other legal jurisdictions have yet to release December numbers, though Maryland’s volume is in line with the latest reports from top 10 betting states like Michigan and Indiana.
Maryland sports betting became legal in 2020 via a ballot measure passed by voters, though it took until Nov. 23, 2022 for online betting to go fully live. That was because of abundance of regulatory hurdles and moving parts between separate administrators.
Promotions shrink tax revenue
Promotional bets accounted for nearly 15% of online handle, unsurprisingly given the nature by which operators pump out “free play” in new markets.
That whittled December’s tax haul down to $44,791, as Maryland is among the handful of states that lets operators deduct free play from their taxable income. In wake of taxes falling short of projections, states like Virginia and Colorado amended their laws to eliminate what is known as the promo deduction, while states like New York outlawed the practice from the start.
Maryland’s lofty promotions could die down later in the year as the market matures and companies pull back spending. According to Play Maryland, the state projects to generate $75 million from its 15% tax on operators in 2023.
Familiar faces at the top in MD
FanDuel Sportsbook accounted for nearly half of all wagers placed on Maryland sports betting apps, with $236.2 million in December.
That makes Maryland the ninth online gaming state where FanDuel owns at least 40% of market since January 2022, according to slides from the company’s presentation to Massachusetts regulators earlier this week.
DraftKings took the second-most at $157.9 million. Maryland’s other five active operators accounted for only 17% of handle. Each sportsbook put up similar market share numbers during the state’s first nine days of online betting.
The breakdown by Maryland sports betting app for December is as follows:
|Operator||Online Handle||Market Share|
Under state law, Maryland can have up to 60 sports betting apps. While it could take decades for so many operators, Betfred, BetFanatics and betPARX are all expected to launch in Maryland later this year.
Rest of Maryland sports betting takes a hit
December was also the first time Maryland’s retail sportsbooks had to compete with mobile operators for a full month. They have been live since December 2021.
They took $18.8 million in wagers during December, including $67,469 in promotional bets, according to the MLGC. That is roughly $21 million less than they took during October, Maryland’s last full month without online sports betting, though $2 million more than December 2021.
Combined with online sportsbooks, they held 17.1% of all bets, more than double the national average since sports betting became legal in jurisdictions outside Nevada.