When Will Maryland Launch Online Sports Betting?
Maryland lawmakers hope to see live sports betting apps before the end of the year. After legalizing mobile betting in November 2020 via a referendum, the state legislature approved sports betting legislation on April 12, 2021. Governor Larry Hogan signed off on the bill in May, so now the licensing process begins.
Regulations on sports wagering saw approval on July 15th. Approximately one month later, the sports application review commission held an initial meeting. They voted on the pursuit of the state lottery commission to investigate the potential licensees.
However, sports wagering will not begin before the start of the football season. Hogan said in an interview with local media that it wasn’t possible at that time. A 30-day public commenting period is required after regulation publication. Rules were published on August 27 and public commenting will continue through September 27.
Maryland Sportsbooks – Coming Soon
While it’s a bit early to tell which sportsbook operators will pursue licensure for Maryland sports betting, we can make some educated guesses. Below are breakdowns of the six top sportsbooks in the industry. These are likely competitors for early licenses because they’re large and well-established or have partners or parent companies already operating in the state. They will each offer different sportsbook bonus offers for new bettors.
In Maryland, it is also likely that smaller operators, such as bars and restaurants, will also operate mobile betting apps. It is unclear if they will operate their own branded apps or work with partners like DraftKings or FanDuel to operate their apps.
In June, PointsBet made an agreement with the Riverboat on the Potomac. The sports betting operator will feature online and brick-and-mortar wagering for state residents. The sportsbook first launched in 2017 in Australia.
PointsBet offers unique market types for many sports that aren’t available at other sportsbooks. If a market is not available, users can name a bet and receive odds if approved by the sportsbook. There is also an exclusive feature called “PointsBetting,” giving users an option for greater risk to receive a bigger payout.
DraftKings has entered into the Maryland market in an agreement with the Baltimore Ravens. They have become the second official sports betting and daily fantasy sports partner for the franchise. M&T Bank Stadium and official team media will feature DraftKings branding.
That’s a great thing for future Maryland sports bettors as DraftKings has a robust and well-developed sportsbook app. It features an intuitive user interface and wide betting markets along with player-friendly odds. This app is also notable for its live-streaming and in-play betting plus its generous opening bonus.
FanDuel is another likely license recipient, and it provides a risk-free bet opening bonus worth up to $1000. It offers fantastic betting opportunities and regular promotions for special game day events.
Alongside a smooth mobile app experience, FanDuel is renowned for its extensive deposit and withdrawal options, as well as its easy-to-read font. Alongside DraftKings, FanDuel is one of the two most popular sportsbook apps in the industry.
BetRivers may decide to pursue licensure in Maryland sooner rather than later. This mobile-optimized sportsbook has an interface specifically designed for small screens as opposed to desktop computers. It also provides fantastic betting experiences, live streaming, and player-friendly odds that are sure to make it a favorite for beginners and experienced sports betting veterans alike.
BetMGM is a rising star in the sportsbook industry, offering live stream betting and a high-quality rewards program that gives you bonuses the longer you use the app. There are excellent betting markets for international and European sports like soccer and rugby. Its American sports selection is great as well.
It is likely that BetMGM could be one of the first big brands to launch in Maryland because of its relationship with the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. In May 2021, BetMGM also announced its partnership with the Baltimore Ravens, the franchise’s first agreement with a sports betting operator.
Caesars is an international sportsbook operator that may decide to foray into Maryland to strengthen its United States presence. It offers fantastic betting markets and odds for both US and international sports, plus an easily navigable interface and a good opening bonus. For a limited time, Caesars is offering a $5,000 risk-free bet for those who sign up with the new app.
The sportsbook’s new app is also linked to the Caesars Rewards program. That means anytime you place a bet on the app, you will receive points towards your Rewards. Caesars operates Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and will open up a retail sportsbook in that location. This is part of a large deal with the Baltimore Ravens, which will have Caesars Sportsbooks branding in the stadium.
Maryland may join the ranks of states with newly legal sports betting industries quite soon. Since both online and retail sports betting became legal in November 2020, lawmakers have been scrambling to hash out the details. They believe the industry will increase the state’s revenue.
On April 12, 2021, the state legislature approved a sports betting bill that includes all of the details about how online sports betting will operate in Maryland. Some of the key provisions include:
- 10 retail licenses for Maryland’s casinos, Pimlico and Laurel Park racetracks, the state’s three professional sports teams, larger OTBs, and electronic bingo halls. This will allow these entities to operate retail sportsbooks onsite.
- 30 retail licenses for bars, restaurants, smaller OTBs, and amusement centers to also operate retail sportsbooks onsite.
- Up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses by competitive bid, allowing operators to launch apps and online betting sites.
In May of 2021, Gov. Hogan signed off on the legislation, starting the process to offer both retail and online sportsbooks to those in Maryland.
Gov. Hogan filled the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) with all seven members in late June. This group issues sports betting licenses in the state of Maryland. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) takes care of regulation.
Sports betting regulations saw approval in the middle of July by the MLGCC. 228 pages of regulations have been published in the Maryland Register. The public is going through a 30-day period to comment on the new regulations before finalization with a consultant that works with SWARC.
SWARC held its first public meeting in August. They designated 17 Class A and B locations noted in the Sports Wagering Law for investigation by the MLGCC. Different classes are based on establishment size and application fee. The license application process began for these establishments on September 14. This includes retail sportsbooks and online sports betting licenses.
Other businesses not listed will need to go through a background investigation that takes approximately one to two years. Up to 23 more retail licenses are available under the current law. The application process will open up for licenses at other retail locations and online sportsbooks at a later date.
Publication of the rules in the Maryland Register officially took place on August 27. This triggers the mandatory 30-day public commenting period. Residents can contact legislators to voice their opinion on the new set of sports wagering rules and regulations. Once the conclusion of this period hits on September 27, the legalization of sports betting will enter its final steps.
Despite sports wagering not happening prior to football season, Gov. Hogan hopes that action can take place prior to the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl. Specifically, a current time frame of late in the fall or early winter has been indicated by government officials.
History Of Gambling And Sports Betting In Maryland
Maryland has had a somewhat unique gambling history, overall. In fact, there was a 21 year period from 1947-1968 during which slot gaming was fully legal in Maryland. It wasn’t until 2008 when five of the major casinos currently in the state were allowed to provide table and slot games once again. Table games were added only a few years later, in 2012.
There are currently six casinos operating throughout Maryland in cities like Baltimore City. The most recent casino, MGM National Harbor, opened in 2016.
But while retail casino wagering may be fully on the books, Maryland’s online gaming scene is in its infancy. Technically, there aren’t any laws explicitly outlining online gaming in any form. In a November 2020 election-day referendum the voters of Maryland approved sports betting across the state. The referendum was needed to approve a constitutional amendment to expand gambling in Michigan.
Maryland sports wagering was legalized just a few months ago. However, there are still a lot of details that need to be hashed out, so sports betting hasn’t yet launched in this state even though it is finally legal.
Maryland Sports Betting: What To Watch
The good news is that sports betting is fully legal in Maryland. But there’s still a lot to discuss when it comes to the actual terms of the sports betting industry, such as who will be awarded licenses, the details surrounding licensure requirements, and more.
Currently, sports betting enthusiasts should watch out for more news from Sen. Chris West, who is one of the biggest proponents for sports betting in this state. Furthermore, sports bettors should watch for news from the six major casinos throughout the state, as well as the three racetracks currently in operation.
Initially, it was assumed that because the state already hosts retail casinos, a new sportsbook would be required to partner with a casino in order to receive licensure. There are nine locations in total when you combine casinos and racetracks. In the end, up to 60 licenses will be issued. It’s likely that Maryland could see online sports betting licenses untethered to a local casino.
Right now, there are six gambling operators currently providing either casino games, daily fantasy sports, or other activities. These organizations are likely recipients for early licenses:
- Caesars Entertainment
- MGM Resorts International
- Saratoga Casino Holdings
- The Cordish Companies
- Golden Entertainment
- Gaming and Leisure Properties
There are also various off-track betting and horse racing facilities to consider. Already, Riverboat on the Potomac and PointsBet have reached an agreement for online and retail betting. PointsBet has been an established worldwide sportsbook since 2017. They currently have a multi-year partnership with NBCUniversal.
Riverboat on the Potomac is a small business geared toward residents in Maryland and Virginia. The establishment’s betting is licensed through Maryland’s lottery regulations.
Timeline Of Maryland’s Gambling History
- 1870 – Horse racing was legalized in Maryland
- 1947 – Several of the state’s operating casinos ignore directions to avoid slot games and install them anyway
- 1952 – Bingo and other games of chance were legalized in this state
- 1968 – Slot machines are officially ruled illegal
- 1972 – The state’s official lottery is launched
- 2008 – Expansions to current casino offerings are ordered, allowing for slot machines to return and table games to be offered
- 2018 – The Supreme Court strikes down PASPA
- Jan 2020 – Sen. Chris West pre-files SB 58, which would legalize sports wagering in the state
- Nov 2020 – Residents vote to legalize sports wagering by amending the Constitution
- Apr 2021 – State legislature approves House Bill 940
- May 2021 – Gov. Hogan signed off on the legislation
- June 2021 – PointsBet and Riverboat on the Potomac reach an agreement for online and retail sportsbook
- July 2021 – MLGCC approves sports betting regulations, subject to publication and review
- August 2021 – SWARC holds first public meeting, advances sports gambling licensees to pending review from the state lottery commission
- September 2021 – Baltimore Sun reports that the lottery agency expects sports gambling to go live in late fall or early winter. Applications begin for 17 retail establishments listed in the Sports Wagering Law.
Maryland Sports Betting FAQs
Yes. Maryland currently has six operating casinos, each of which provides a plethora of game types.
At this time, online sports betting is legal but no apps have yet to launch. There are no options for online casino gaming for real money.
Yes. The lottery is state-run and can only be played in person.
Each casino is owned by an independent commercial entity.
You need to be 21 years of age or older. This is also the age you’ll need to be to place any sports bets once sportsbooks launch in this state.
Absolutely. Each casino is professionally run and has good security for its users. Furthermore, any sportsbooks partnered with casinos will have excellent online security to protect your personal information.