Maryland Sports Betting

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Last updated: June 1, 2020

Status:Despite the Supreme Court ruling that gave authority for individual states to legalize sports betting in 2018, Maryland’s attempts to bring legal sport betting the state have yet to succeed, despite two attempts. However, it is likely a voters will have the chance to approve sports betting in Maryland in November 2020.

ETA: If sports betting legislation is approved in November 2020 then sports betting could be up and running in early 2021.


Maryland Sports Betting Timeline

Back in 2007, voters in the state backed a ruling that stated any further expansion of commercial gambling required public approval via a ballot. When the door to sports gambling was opened in 2018 following a Supreme Court decision to axe the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), it was believed that this requirement could be bypassed. The state lottery is not subject to the same requirement and the idea was to use this as a vehicle to push through sports betting legislation. However, the state’s Attorney General rejected that idea.

Neighbouring district Washington DC circumvented its own rules to pass legislation to allow its lottery provider to operate sports betting. With that option now off the table for Maryland, it could be another two years before any further progress is made, by which time Virginia and more than a dozen other states could also be up and running.


Maryland Betting History

Gambling has a rich history in Maryland thanks to its association with horse racing. The first major race track (Pimlico) was built in 1870 and the Preakness Stakes, one of the Triple Crown of American Thoroughbred racing, has been held there since 1873. But while betting on horse racing was permitted, many other types of gambling remained illegal. As a result, it was not until 2010 that the first casino opened in Maryland, with five more appearing in the following years.

A state lottery was introduced in 1973 and games of entertainment such as bingo and raffles, charitable games and bona fide tests of skill were also permitted. In 1996, Maryland became the first state to offer the Mega Millions lottery.


Is sports betting legal in Maryland?

Not yet. Although voters will have a chance to approve sports betting in Maryland, in November 2020.


Who controls sports betting in Maryland?

It was hoped that sports betting in Maryland would be controlled by the state lottery provider in order to avoid a public ballot but that idea seems to have been put on hold. It remains to be seen who will control sports betting in the state.


What is the legal age to bet on sports in Maryland?

Currently, players must be 18 or over to take part in the Maryland state lottery. In theory, if sports betting falls under the control of the lottery, the age requirement could fall in line with this. However, the age limit for other types of gambling such as casinos and poker is 21 and there is a possibility this limit would be applied to sports betting.


Where can I bet on sports in Maryland

If you want to bet on sports in Maryland, you will have to wait until 2021 at the earliest.


Who are the current operators/licensees in Maryland?

Until all the constitutional issues have been resolved, there will be no sports betting licences issued in the state of Maryland.


Which operators currently offer legal sports betting in Maryland?

Currently, there are no legal sports betting operators in Maryland.


Is mobile and app sports betting available in Maryland?

Once the legal issues have been resolved, the first sports betting licences will be issued. Only then will it be possible for mobile operators to enter the market. What’s more, online gaming may be subject to different regulations so it may take a while longer before it is introduced in Maryland – perhaps as late as 2022 or beyond.


How much is sports betting worth in Maryland?

With no sports betting operation in place, it is hard to know how much will be generated, but with 20% of revenue going to the state, the figure is likely to be in the tens of millions.


What is the tax rate for Maryland sports betting?

A tax rate of 10% or more is expected to be applied to all sports betting revenue in Maryland. This will be taken from the difference between what betting operators earn and what they pay their winners.


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