Last updated: August 18, 2022
Sports betting is legal in Maryland. You can place bets in person at Maryland casinos and other approved venues, but online sportsbooks are currently unavailable.
Most estimates put an online sportsbook launch a year away, if not early 2023. The most recent timeline for launch that has been discussed is the 2023 Super Bowl, but even that date is uncertain. No official launch date has been announced, but once it is live, there could be as many as 60 online sports betting sites in the state.
The first retail sportsbook opened in 2021, a few months after state legislators passed enabling laws to support the will of state voters. Gov. Larry Hogan signed sports betting in MD into law in May 2021. Here is the latest from the front lines of Maryland sports betting.
What’s happening in Maryland sports betting right now
- August 10, 2022 – The Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission found the Washington Commanders suitable for a sports betting facility license. Chesapeake Gaming was also found suitable for a facility license while Betfred was deemed suitable for an operator license.
- August 1, 2022 – There is a new legal sports betting option in Maryland as Rush Street Interactive opened a BetRivers retail sportsbook at Bingo World.
- July 13, 2022 – The SWARC approved draft regulations and applications at its July meeting, but there is still much work to go before mobile sports betting can launch.
- June 29, 2022 – It looks like Fanatics is partnering with the Washington Commanders to launch sports betting in Maryland, according to a report from the Washington Business Journal.
- June 27, 2022 – Sports apparel and memorabilia company Fanatics received a partial approval to operate sports betting in Maryland. It is the first betting approval for Fanatics.
- June 20, 2022 – Gov. Larry Hogan asked for the online launch to be sped up for a Sept. 8 launch date but the SWARC said it is working as deliberately and diligently as possible.
- June 10, 2022 — Maryland’s retail sportsbooks handled $23.1 million during April, with the FanDuel Sportsbook at Live! Casino taking $10.9 million of the wagers. The state collected $452,897 in taxes off the $3 million in sports betting revenue during the month.
- June 1, 2022 – Supporters of the men’s college baseball team still have to travel to a retail sportsbook to get their bets down on the 15th-seeded team in the championship tournament. The Terrapins will play their first game at 7 pm Eastern June 3.
Is sports betting legal in Maryland?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Maryland. However, it is only available in person. The first retail sportsbook opened in December 2021. Voters approved legal sports betting in Maryland in November 2020, and state legislators passed bills facilitating wagering in April 2021. However, Maryland online sports betting is still a waiting game.
Currently, there are no legal online options for sports betting in Maryland. Only illegal offshore websites operate in the state.
When will online sports betting launch in Maryland?
Maryland online sports betting most likely will not launch until 2023. The next Super Bowl is the earliest estimate discussed by regulators, but they have not given a firm timeline for when to expect online sportsbooks to be available.
The status of online sports betting in Maryland
Maryland continues to progress — slowly — through the process of creating online sports betting regulations. At the heart of the slow movement is the body in charge of the process, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission. One of the reasons for the deliberate pace has been the SWARC’s effort to craft rules that include race- and gender-based criteria in licensing decisions.
To that end, the SWARC hopes to complete a disparity study to determine whether more adjustments in the language and procedures are necessary for minority- and female-owned sportsbooks. However, public pressure from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in June 2022 spurred the SWARC to pass a set of rules onto a legislative review committee — without the inclusive language. The SWARC retains the ability to add additional criteria to its regulations after it reviews the completed study.
The next step after the legislative review committee is a 30-day public comment period. After the conclusion of the comment period, the SWARC could, ostensibly, set a date for the beginning of the application window. However, committee officials remain noncommittal about the exact moments that any of those steps will occur.
Top online sportsbooks coming to Maryland
Bettors in Maryland likely will have a good number of sportsbooks available to them in the future. With 60 potential online sportsbook licenses, many popular sports betting brands could enter the market. For example, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, and PointsBet all have partnerships in place for retail betting and ostensibly will offer online sports betting, too. Here is a closer look at the top online sportsbooks coming to Maryland:
Most know the MGM name, and BetMGM does not disappoint as a representative of the global casino giant. As a BetMGM retail sportsbook is already in service at MGM National Harbor, you may already have a feel for what to expect. Few online books offer as many choices or as much flexibility as BetMGM. The online sportsbook does have its quirks, and it can be difficult to find what you are looking for.
BetRivers Sportsbook represents Rush Street Interactive, the online arm of Rivers Casinos in nearby Pennsylvania, among other places. BetRivers made history with Bingo World as the first non-casino in Maryland with a retail sportsbook in August 2022. The online debut of BetRivers will be important, too, as few sites offer as many ways to live stream the game and keep track of your wagers.
Retail sports betting at Caesars Sportsbook is already available at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore. Provided it eventually launches online, as well, pay attention to the quality bonus offers that seem to accompany Caesars most of the time. The online sportsbook also comes equipped with Caesars Rewards and a full slate of betting markets. That being said, the design of the website and app can be rough to navigate.
DraftKings has been a part of life in Maryland for many years as a daily fantasy sports provider. Its partnership with the Baltimore Ravens only underlines the company’s ties to the state. Whenever online sportsbooks launch in Maryland, you can figure DraftKings will likely be one of the first. It is well-known for its innovative app features, custom betting carousel, and sportsbook pools.
FanDuel has been a known quantity in Maryland for a while, thanks to its DFS service. It is already booking wagers at the Live! Casino in Hanover. We can expect that its sportsbook app will follow shortly after online sports betting goes live in Maryland. The app itself features an easy-to-use menu and an intuitive design with access to same game parlays and a promotions tab.
PointsBet is an Australian company that might not ring any bells for those outside of sports betting or online gambling. However, its partnership with both Riverboat on the Potomac and the University of Maryland indicates solid ties to the state already. PointsBet is notable for both its signature wager — PointsBetting — and its commitment to making things right in the event of a game-changing blown call or certain other instances of horrible luck.
Recent Maryland sports betting news
Maryland sports betting law
Maryland voters approved sports betting in November 2020, kicking off the push for enabling legislation in the state capital. The question put to voters in November 2020 was:
“Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and event betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”
Voters approved the referendum, giving the legislature a directive to figure out how to properly implement sports betting in the state and pass another bill in 2021. Legislation signed into law by the governor went into effect on July 1, 2021, but was still not enough time to launch before the 2021 NFL season started.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission approved a set of rules and regulations governing the operation of Maryland sports betting. This allowed retail sportsbooks to open by the end of 2021. The wait for online sportsbooks continues, however, as the state works through several steps and processes to launch.
The Maryland sports betting law creates one of the most competitive environments in the United States. Legislators approved a structure with two types of licenses:
- Class A licenses: 10 licenses reserved for Maryland’s six casinos, three professional sports teams/stadiums and the Maryland Jockey Club, which includes Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. There is language for future licenses for potential NBA, NHL, and MLS teams.
- Class B licenses: 30 licenses for other businesses with physical locations in Maryland that will be up for competitive bidding. Seven additional Class B licenses are targeted for the Maryland State Fairgrounds, four off-track betting parlors and two commercial bingo halls with 200 or more machines.
Holders of both types of licenses can apply for one of the 60 mobile wagering licenses. The state will revisit whether it needs to add more licenses in December 2025.
The long road to Maryland sports betting
Retail sports betting launched in December 2021 at at least one retail sportsbook at MGM National Harbor.
HB 940 ended years of debate over MD sports betting when it passed in April 2021.
Of course, with voter backing already secured, legislators needed only to create the structure of the state’s wagering market. The law went into effect in July, with the first retail sportsbooks opening in December.
The meat of the final bill, though, was stripped by legislators, who instead chose to refer the question of whether to legalize sports betting in MD to voters. One legislator indicated inclusion concerns caused the change.
Efforts to legalize sports betting in Maryland through the state lottery never materialized. A state Attorney General opinion that sports betting in MD would require voter approval scuttled attempts to avoid a constitutional question.
Maryland looked like a candidate to enact legal sports betting well before other states in 2018.
H 1014 easily cleared the state House. The bill would have sent MD sports betting to the ballot via referendum.
It died in the Senate without additional action.
H 989 served as the first step toward approving sports betting in Maryland well before it became legal in the US. The bill was designed to establish a task force to “study the implementation of sports gaming in the state.”
How does Maryland compare to Virginia and Washington D.C.?
The DMV area, as locals know it, features legal sports betting in each jurisdiction. Maryland and Virginia look quite similar, while Washington D.C. created quite a mess.
Both Maryland and Virginia made mobile sports betting legal. Mobile sports betting apps should largely mirror each other in Maryland and Virginia.
The states chose to allow casinos to participate, although Virginia remains in the process of siting and building those casinos. Tax rates and license fees are competitive with other markets, and Maryland’s law likely allows more operators to take part.
The District, however, is suffering through a sports betting disaster. Its council chose to restrict sports betting to a single app run through the DC Lottery. The council chose to hand the contract to lottery provider Intralot instead of utilizing a competitive bid process. Intralot created the GambetDC app, which has been widely panned for uncompetitive odds and inferior markets.
As a result, the retail sportsbook inside Capital One Arena in downtown DC continues to outpace GambetDC on a monthly basis. A new option also emerged when BetMGM launched a geofenced app through a partnership with the Washington Nationals.
Where to bet on sports in Maryland
You will soon be able to bet online legally in Maryland from anywhere within the state. But while we wait for that launch to occur, several sportsbooks are open at local casinos and businesses. It is anticipated that additional retail betting options will open at Long Shot’s (Betfred), Greenmount Station, FedEx Field (Fanatics), Riverboat on the Potomac (PointsBet), and more. Bingo World was the first non-casino location to open a sportsbook in the state in August 2022.
|Horseshoe Casino||Baltimore||Caesars Sportsbook|
|Hollywood Casino||Perryville||Barstool Sportsbook|
|Live! Casino & Hotel||Hanover||FanDuel Sportsbook|
|MGM National Harbor||Forest Heights||BetMGM Sportsbook|
|Ocean Downs Casino||Worcester County||TwinSpires Sportsbook|
|Bingo World||Baltimore||BetRivers Sportsbook|
Legal betting options in Maryland
Aside from betting on horse racing and fantasy sports, only retail sportsbooks are open in Maryland at the moment. The first one launched December 9, 2021. Online sportsbooks are not available yet.
There are illegal offshore websites that offer sports betting in Maryland. They do not have a license from any US jurisdiction to accept bets within the country legally.
Without protection from the state, these offshore apps can’t be relied on to pay out winnings and have been known to disappear with bettors’ money. The only safe and insured way to bet on sports in the United States is with a licensed operator.
Is horse racing legal in Maryland?
Yes. Horse racing in Maryland is overseen by the Maryland Racing Commission. Online pari-mutuel wagering is permitted through sites such as TVG and TwinSpires.
Maryland hosts one of the most prestigious horse racing events in the world: the Preakness Stakes. Run at Pimlico Race Course since 1873, the Preakness is the middle leg in the Triple Crown. Winning at the Kentucky Derby is the sport’s crown jewel, but that same horse winning at the Preakness creates the excitement of a Triple Crown contender.
Other racetracks in the state are Laurel Park and Timonium at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, both of which could have sports betting.
Maryland also has a rich history in steeplechase racing going back more than 100 years. The Fair Hill Races are the only US steeplechase event with parimutuel betting.
Maryland and Daily Fantasy Sports
Maryland was the first state to legalize fantasy sports in 2012. Although that was well before daily fantasy sports were around, Maryland implemented regulations to oversee the industry in 2017. The next year, Maryland passed a law moving regulation of the fantasy sports industry to the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission.
Sites that operate in Maryland include DraftKings and FanDuel. The minimum age to participate in fantasy sports in Maryland is 18. Operators are not allowed to offer contests on college sports.
Most popular sports to bet in Maryland
Football is king with two professional teams housed in Maryland.
NFL betting in Maryland
The Baltimore Ravens and Washington Commanders play home games in Maryland. The ability to have betting at team facilities has become part of the battle for the Redskins between Maryland and Virginia.
MLB betting in Maryland
The Baltimore Orioles have the love of many Marylanders in Major League Baseball.
Being adjacent to Washington, DC, many people in Maryland have an affinity for teams based in the nation’s capitol. This is particularly true for the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals.
NBA and NHL betting in Maryland
Maryland doesn’t have any NBA or NHL teams, so many people in the state adopt the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals as their teams. The Wizards started in Maryland as the aptly-named Baltimore Bullets.
NCAA betting in Maryland
In college sports, the Maryland Terrapins basketball team figures to be popular for betting. The Army-Navy college football rivalry game also always draws a lot of wagering interest.
Maryland sports betting timeline
In March, a disparity study overseen by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) finally got underway. While no timeline was established for when it will be completed, it was a key step in the lead-up to an online launch in the state. Regulators noted that a launch date might not happen in 2022, and a launch by Super Bowl 2023 is possible but not guaranteed, despite a push from Gov. Larry Hogan.
Meanwhile, Maryland’s retail sportsbooks continued to chug along with nearly $30 million in handle in April. BetRivers partnered with Bingo World in August, opening the first non-casino sportsbook in the state. Greenmount Station and Riverboat on the Potomac are close to opening their in-person sportsbooks, too.
Legislators approved a Maryland sports betting bill to set up the structure of the market after voter approval months earlier. It was signed by Gov. Larry Hogan in May.
The bill approved by both chambers creates a two-tiered model with Class A and Class B licenses. The Class A permits are for casinos and larger entities, with the Class B licenses targeted toward smaller businesses. Legislation also allows up to 60 mobile licenses.
Maryland retail sportsbooks started opening in December 2021. However, online sports betting in Maryland likely will not launch until at least fall 2022, according to John Martin, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency director.
After two false starts, Maryland came out serious about legalizing sports betting and voters ultimately approved it in November 2020.
Neighboring Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and Washington, DC, had legalized sports betting and legislators didn’t want Maryland to be left behind.
Maryland held a couple of early hearings on sports betting, and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder spoke with lawmakers lobbying for a bill that included team facilities.
In March, sports betting in Maryland seemed like a lock to pass after the Senate sent a strong message by passing legislation unanimously.
However, the next week, the House removed the sports betting operational details and turned the bill, turning it into a mere ballot referendum. The Senate reluctantly concurred with the House decision.
Del. Nick Mosby later explained that the House took this course because of concerns of inclusion.
Following a disparity study ordered in the bill, he wants the legislature to explore ways that minority- and women-owned businesses could participate in sports betting.
Bill sponsor Sen. Craig Zucker believed the chambers could have worked out their differences if the session wasn’t cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill would have legalized sports betting at six Maryland casinos, three racetracks and, potentially, a Redskins stadium and practice facility. The legislation set high license fees ranging from $1.5 million to $2.5 million, with a 20% tax rate that include 1% to the Minority Business Enterprise program.
This time, the Maryland legislature tried to maneuver around the need for a constitutional amendment at the ballot box. In 2007, Maryland voters approved a measure requiring any commercial gambling expansion to appear on the ballot.
The state lottery does not fall under that requirement, though, so lawmakers tried to push for a bill to legalize sports betting at lottery retailers and racetracks.
That would have been to the detriment of casinos in the state, which made it unlikely to pass. Near the end of the session, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh told legislators that sports betting indeed does need voter approval, setting the stage for 2020’s efforts.
Before the US Supreme Court even overturned PASPA, Maryland tried to be one of first states out of the gate on sports betting.
Ironically given what happened in 2020, it was the House that overwhelmingly passed a MD sports betting bill that would have put the issue in front of voters years ago. The bill did not gain any traction in the Senate.
Maryland sports betting FAQ
Who oversees betting in Maryland?
The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency oversees gambling activity in the state.
Legislators in Maryland called for a Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to decide which applicants will receive Class B and mobile licenses.
Will online sports betting be allowed?
Yes. State law allows for up to 60 online sports betting licenses in Maryland. You will not need to be a Maryland resident to bet, but you will need to be physically located within state borders at the time of the wager.
There are some sports betting websites that say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?
No. There are currently no sportsbook operators that are licensed at the federal level, which means all US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level. Any website that suggests betting from anywhere in the US is allowed is a website that operators offshore.
It is not legal for those sites to accept bets from US citizens and those sites offer no protection to those who bet on them.