Maryland Sports Betting

Maryland Sports Betting

Update March 2021

The House overwhelmingly approved legislation to regulate retail and mobile sportsbetting which progressed to the Senate for consideration. Prior to its passage, a number of amendments were made
to HB940 including increasing the number of licenses available. The licenses that will now be offered are:
– 15 mobile licenses;
– 22 retail licenses (with 10 reserved for incumbent gambling stakeholders).

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Maryland Sports Betting Legality

Sports betting onshore is progressing towards being legal!

After all the faffing around in past years, there is movement with House and Senate considering and passing Bills that would legalize and regulate sports betting in the State. In prior updates, we expressed how excruciatingly slow Maryland and Louisiana both were. It appears that our prediction of Maryland, being the faster of the two turtle states is becoming true.

What will it take for Sports Betting to be legalized?

The one and only bill, prefiled by Republican Sen. Chris West, needs to be approved when state legislature early this year. If this is not approved, it will be back to the drawing board. After which, who knows if there will be another attempt to lodge a sports betting bill.

In order to amend the State’s constitution gambling laws, a referendum must be held. The earliest that this can occur is November 2020 (only if SB58 is approved). Hence a lot is riding on SB58 being approved.

Once SB58 is approved, the referendum requires a simply majority obtained by the people of Marylands.

And if all goes well, with the people have given their thumbs up in November, 30 days following sports betting become legalized.

Great, so when can I start betting?

If all goes to plan, and sports betting is legalized in late 2021, several more months will be needed to confirm:

  1. Online and mobile app sports betting,
  2. Taxation and funding,
  3. Regulatory, licensing and compliance.

As you can see, there is still a long way to go!

1. Online and mobile app sports betting

Many of the large casinos operating in Maryland are supportive of offering online and mobile sports betting. They believe it is the only way of allowing sports betting to grow and to compete against the offshore sports betting books which accept US sports bettors.

They often reference New Jersey’s success in sports betting as the state which has offered mobile sports betting.

Others want a slow and steady approach. They want to confine sports betting to be in-person and on-site. This would means placing sports bets through terminals and kiosks, at the 6 existing casinos in the state.

2. Taxation and funding

No details have been pre-filed with SB58 that outlines the tax implications of legalizing sports betting. Obviously this will need to be determined before sports betting can be made open to the public, hence there is still a long way to go.

SB58, however, has outlined that funds are to be directed to public education and other community initiatives.

3. Licensing, regulatory and compliance

Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission will be authorized to issue sports betting licenses. It is intended that the six pre-existing casinos will form part of the locations that will be allowed to apply for licenses.

Three casinos dominate the casino revenue in the State.

Maryland Live!, in fact, has already secured a partnership with FanDuel to open a sportsbook once legalized.

After the big three, are the small three, which offer limited slots and table games.

Maryland Online Sports Betting

Unbeknownst to many, online sports betting has been occurring for many years. Maryland sports betting turnover for 2019 was $21.5 million, wagered via online sport betting sites. These online sport betting sites are offshore and are open to accepting US players.

Is this illegal?

It is a gray area. The current state laws do not clearly articulate whether gambling offshore online is illegal or not. Therefore, you will find many online sports books (and online casinos) accepting US players from states that have ambiguous gambling laws – Maryland is one of those states.

Is it dangerous?

There are two aspects to this question.

Firstly, will you get caught or fined?

I highly doubt it. Till this day, there has been no precedence of anyone being charged with breaking the law for playing at offshore online sports betting books or offshore online casinos.

Secondly, are offshore sports betting books trustworthy and reliable?

Very much so. They have been operating in the market for many years and sports betting is a clear cut outcome (when compared to online casino games). It’s therefore extremely difficult to argue that an outcome of a sports bet is wrong.

How can I find an online Sports Book?

The most popular offshore sports book is Bovada. It is the largest and has a long standing history of operating a sports book for US citizens.

Do NOT place a bet at an unlicensed sports book operating offshore. Unlicensed sportsbooks may not be reliable. Although they may offer great Welcome Bonuses, their promise to pay any winnings may be empty. Keep with the trusted and big branded names.

How can I place a Sports Bet onshore?

By far the easiest way is to place a bet via offshore sports betting sites.

The alternative is to head towards a neighboring state which has legalized sports betting. Don’t go to Virginia – they have yet to legalize sports betting. However all other surrounding states offers sports betting Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware and Washington D.C.

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Bordering States

Virginia | West Virginia | Delaware | Pennsylvania