Maryland is a rather progressive state regarding gambling. Horse racing has been legal in the state since 1870, and there have been land-based casinos since 2008. The state was one of the first to launch daily fantasy sport (DFS) betting, doing so in 2012. Retail sports betting launched in December 2021 and online sportsbooks began accepting wagers in November 2022.
The Status of Legal Online Gambling in Maryland
It took Maryland two years to get sports betting off the ground. The delay was caused by several factors, including creation of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), which was tasked with ensuring that gaming licenses were distributed in a socially equitable way — offering opportunities to minority-owned and women-owned businesses.
Marylanders voters overwhelmingly backed a referendum to legalize sports betting in November 2020, but the first retail sportsbooks didn’t open their doors until December 2021 — more than one year later. Online sportsbooks took even longer, launching in November 2022.
Online poker and casino games remain illegal in the Old Line State. DFS remains a popular way for people in the state to wager online, and Maryland also has advance deposit wagering (ADW) for horse racing.
All of the legal online gaming sites in Maryland are licensed and regulated by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC). With that being the case, licensed Maryland online gaming sites are 100% legal and safe to play at. You can find many extensive and unbiased reviews on our website to find legitimate platforms.
Continue reading this useful guide to find out all about online gambling in Maryland and how to find a secure site to play at.
Legalized sports betting became a reality in May 2021 when a bill, HB 940, was approved by the Maryland legislature. The first legal sports bets were taken on December 9, 2021, and the state can issue as many as 60 sports betting licenses, which would be the most of any state.
Mobile operators in the state include:
- Barstool Sports
- Caesars Sportsbook
- PointsBet (* future Fanatics Sportsbook)
- SuperBook Sportsbook
Online casino gambling is not legal in Maryland. Legislation to launch online casino gaming and poker was introduced in 2023 but did not advance.
Daily Fantasy Sports
In 2012, Maryland was one of the first states to legalize paid-entry daily fantasy sports (DFS) betting. People in the state can bet on daily fantasy sports. The sites available are:
- Yahoo Fantasy
Like online casino gaming, online poker is illegal in Maryland. A bill that would have authorized online poker and casino gaming was introduced in 2023 but didn’t gain enough support and wasn’t considered.
Why Choose a Legal Maryland Online Gaming Site?
A legal site in Maryland is much better to play at than offshore sites, as they are illegal and not safe to wager at. When a site is licensed, it is regulated by Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC). They will ensure that they are fair and follow their specific rules and that that is not the case with unregulated offshore sites.
Here are the main reasons to choose a legal Maryland gaming site:
- Fairness – The MLGCC will be tasked with testing the sites for fairness on a regular basis. They will also ensure that there are clear and transparent terms and conditions for the bonuses offered.
- Protection – If you play at a licensed Maryland site you know you will be protected. There will be security measures in place to protect financial and personal information as well as measures to ensure that a player is at least 21 years of age.
- Accountability – A licensed Maryland sports betting will be accountable for taking care of player disputes. If the site cannot resolve the dispute with the player the MLGCC will get involved to take care of the situation.
- Responsible Gambling — A legal Maryland gaming site will have responsible gambling tools in place to aid players in avoiding addiction. Gambling is supposed to be a form of entertainment, and betting and deposit tools and time alerts can help keep it that way. Not only are tools available, but on the sites, there will be info on problem gambling and giving players info on how to get in touch with problem gambling services in the state.
- Community Benefits — A licensed Maryland gaming site will have to pay taxes to the state, which benefits the community. For sports betting, there is a 15% tax on proceeds for the operator. The taxes from land-based casinos go into an Education Trust Fund and other legal gaming sites that are paid. Around 19% of the funds go into other state improvement programs and a portion to gambling problem services.
The tax money from gambling in Maryland goes towards bettering the community. The funds are used for community projects and funding problem gambling services, but a significant amount goes into the Maryland Education Trust Fund. Nearly half of all land-based casino revenue goes into this education fund.
How to Know If a Maryland Online Sports Betting Site Is Legal, Regulated, and Safe
It was mentioned earlier in the article that there are a few ways where you can see if a sports betting site is licensed and regulated. Here they are:
- USGamingReview.com: It is the easiest way. They have online gambling information, in terms of legality, and all the gaming sites they have on their review site are licensed and regulated and 100% safe and legal to play at.
- State regulator: A legal Maryland sportsbook will be licensed and regulated by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC).
- Cryptocurrency: If a gaming site accepts any type of cryptocurrency, the gaming site is not state licensed.
- US Players Welcome: Legal online sportsbooks are state regulated, which means you must be physically located in the state to play there. If you see a site that advertises US players welcome, it is a red flag and may be illegal.
Sites that are not legal will not have a .com ending, as they will have as .ag, .lv, .eu. Anytime you see a site that is not .com you should avoid playing there.
Important Information When Choosing an Online Gambling Site in Maryland
How will you know which sports betting app to use or which sportsbook offers the best deal? Well, based on our extensive experience in the online gambling industry, the experts behind the scenes at USGamingReview.com have complied a list of factors every sports bettor in Maryland should consider.
A welcome bonus is offered to attract new players to a gaming site. You are looking for a welcome bonus that has value for you and has attainable wagering requirements. This is why you need to read the terms and conditions for any welcome bonus or any bonus for that matter. A solid welcome bonus will allow you to explore what a site has to offer without costing you a lot of money.
A typical welcome bonus can come in the form of a match of your initial deposit, free bets, or risk free bets. Some sites will also offer a no deposit bonus where you can try out what a site has to offer without making an initial deposit.
While a welcome bonus is offered to attract new players, promotions are offered for existing players to keep them happy and playing at the site. They can be offered daily, weekly, or monthly and can add value to your gaming experience. Again, you should check out the wagering requirements for any bonus or promotion before opting in.
Common promos offered are, reload bonuses, free bets, parlay insurance, profit boosts, and seasonal and big event offers. Many promos at sportsbooks will center around what season it is, such as the NFL or NBA seasons and there are usually always offers for bigger events such as the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Finals. You can see various promotions offered through our review and what to expect from them.
Sites will often have a rewards program, which can also be called a VIP or loyalty program. These programs reward loyal players giving them perks and benefits for wagering on the site. Most of the time, the programs are tiered ones, and you will get points every time you bet, and the more points you have the higher level in the program you will be in and the more benefits you will receive.
Some of the benefits you can receive in a rewards program include site credit, bonus cash, free bets, and exclusive bonus offers. If the site is partnered with a land-based casino and resort, you may also get discounted rooms and restaurant vouchers.
Usually, when a site offers a rewards program, you automatically enter it upon registration. If not, see what you need to do to enroll in the program to avoid missing out on the benefits offered.
Mobile betting is very popular these days, and nearly all legitimate sites will offer mobile gaming. They will either offer a specific application or the site can be played directly through your mobile device browser. Mobile gaming is available for iOS and Android users and offers a great gaming experience on the go with the same features that the desktop version offers.
Not only can you make wagers through your mobile device but also check out and opt into bonuses and promotions, make deposits and withdrawals, and contact customer service.
Sports Offered and Betting Markets
A solid sportsbook should offer a wide variety of sports to wager on and a good selection of betting markets. Some of the big boys are already in Maryland, such as BetMGM and Caesars, and they are reputable books that offer many sports to wager on from popular ones such as football, basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer and more to niche ones such as badminton, cricket, and darts to name a few.
In betting markets, you will see spreads, totals, money lines, parlays, futures, proposition bets, and round robins. Most books also offer live betting where you can bet on events as they happen in real-time, and many will also offer live streaming of various sporting events.
Legal vs Illegal Online Sports Betting
Legal Maryland online sportsbooks will be safe and secure to play at because they are licensed and regulated by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC). That is not the case for illegal online betting site. The gaming body has strict regulations in place that the site must adhere to, such as ensuring fair business practices.
Illegal sites that are not licensed do not have to abide by safety and security standards like legal ones do. They are there to make money in a quick manner by preying on unsuspecting players and there are some things to look for in an illegal site that we will touch on later in the article.
A legit and legal sportsbook will have all the security measures in place ensuring that it is a safe place to play. An illegal site will not have these things, so read on to find out how to identify an illegal site because doing so can save you from losing money and also from any legal ramifications.
Illegal Online Gaming Offered in Maryland
With online poker and online casino gambling being illegal in Maryland illegal offshore gambling sites will try to lure in players from the state. You should also be aware of illegal sportsbooks as well, as while retail sports betting is currently legal in the Maryland, online sports betting will not launch until fall of this year.
The illegal sites will advertise to players offering them an alternative gaming product, many of which will appear from a simple Google search. But just because they look legit does not mean they are legal or safe.
If you are a Maryland bettor, you need to watch out for illegal sites and not fall for what they are offering. Know that playing any online casino or poker game for money is not legal and there may be dire consequences for playing at illegal sites.
Why Offshore Betting Sites are Unsafe
Some illegal offshore sites may be “licensed” by a gaming regulator in another country, but they are still unsafe to play at. These “gaming regulators” typically have subpar standards and simply function as a rubber stamp organization designed to give these illegal sites the appearance of legitimacy. The main factor is money, as they will do things to withhold winnings from players in various ways such as:
- Slow payouts to try to keep a player wagering at the site
- Close a player’s account for no reason other than they are winning
- Offer bonuses and promotions that are intentionally misleading
There is also the issue of identity theft, which is not uncommon when playing at offshore betting sites. To that point in 2021, Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams said, “If you share personal information with an unregulated gambling site, there are no guarantees your information won’t be sold to or used by criminals.
Identity theft is the most common complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission. In 2020, 1.3 million identity theft reports were made in the U.S.” If you play at a legal and licensed site there are security measures that have to be in place to thwart identity theft.
Another thing you need to be aware of is that offshore sites will not have responsible gambling tools in place like there are on legal sportsbooks. There are tools players can use to avoid gambling becoming addictive such as:
- Setting bet limits
- Setting a deposit limit
- Setting time limits on a site
- Placing a self-exclusion time where a player cannot gamble on a site
Also, in terms of responsible gaming at legal sites the regulatory body will make sure there are measures in place to curb underage gambling. That is not the case, often, at offshore sites. To go even further legal sports betting sites will have links on their page for problem gambling services that people can reach out to if they think they may have an issue.
One aspect of all offshore sites is that the money they make is not taxed, which means there are no benefits to the local community. Legal retail and online sportsbooks pay Maryland state taxes where the money will be used for such things as community projects, education funding, and funding of problem gambling services.
Responsible Gaming Resources in Maryland
A licensed Maryland gaming site should be financially stable and offer responsible gaming resources to ensure safety and security to players to keep gambling a form of entertainment. Here are some of the things a licensed Maryland gaming site should have:
- Measures in place to only accept players that are 21 or older
- Have responsible gambling tools in place, such as bet limits, deposit limits, and time alerts.
- Have self-exclusion lists where players can use to not play at a site for weeks, months, and years.
- Offer players information about problem gambling and how to get in touch with problem gambling services
- Provide benefits for the community
- Measures in place to protect player personal and financial information
Gambling Limits Tools
Gambling is fun and a form of entertainment, but it can also be addictive. When it becomes addictive, it can be a big problem for the gambler as well as their loved ones. There are responsible gambling tools available on Maryland sites to help curb addiction and keep the activity fun. Here are those tools:
- Deposit Limits — Limits the amount you can deposit at a Maryland gaming site.
- Bet Limits — Limits the amount you can bet on a single wager.
- Time Alerts — A notification that will show you how long you have been wagering on a site.
- Time Limits — Limits the amount of time you can gamble on a site.
- Self-Exclusion — You can put your name on a self-exclusion list where you cannot play for the chosen period. The exclusion can be for weeks, months, years, and even indefinitely.
Maryland Responsible Gambling Services
When gambling does become addictive, there is help out there in problem gambling services. Here are some of them available in Maryland:
- Maryland Alliance for Responsible Gambling (MARG) — An organization with a voluntary exclusion list and problem gambling treatment counselors.
- Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling — A recourse for getting help with problem gambling and their helpline is 667-214-2120.
- Gamblers Anonymous — This national self-help organization has support meetings available where people can talk about problem gambling. You can find meetings in Maryland by looking at the GA website.
- National Problem Gambling Helpline — National problem gaming resource that can help you find services available in Maryland. There is a national helpline, and the one for the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling is 443-691-2536.
Gaming Regulator Information
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) is the gaming regulator in Maryland, and they not only license and regulate the legal gambling sites but also set standards that have to be met.
The regulator will oversee a site and make sure it is fair to their players regarding transparent terms and conditions for bonuses and promotions, overseeing payment practices, and that there is no misleading promotional material.
The MLGCC will also act as a mediator if an issue between a player and a site cannot be worked out. On the regulator’s website, you can fill out a dispute form, and they will be prompt in appropriately settling the issue.
The regular will ensure that players at legal Maryland gaming sites are protected. They have tools to keep minors from gambling at the site and have responsible gambling tools available to curb addiction. The sites should also have information about problem gambling and how to get in touch with problem gambling services in the Old Line State.
In addition, the MLGCC will ensure that the appropriate taxes are paid by gaming sites where the funds will be used to better the community in community projects and funding problem gambling services.
History of Online Gambling Legislation
- 1870: Horse racing legalized
- 1963: Slot machines deemed illegal
- 1973: Maryland Lottery established
- 2008: Slot Machines legalized at privately owned casinos
- 2012: Maryland was one of the first states to legalize paid-entry Daily Fantasy Sports betting
- 2021: Governor Larry Hogan, signs HB 940 into law; Retail sportsbooks open in December
- 2022: Online sportsbooks launch in Novermber
Land-based Gambling Available in Maryland
Six land-based casinos in Maryland offer slots, table games, and poker.
- MGM National Harbor – 7100 Oxon Hill Rd, National Harbor, MD 20745 – Phone: (844) 346-4664
- Hollywood Casino – 1201 Chesapeake Overlook Pkwy, Perryville, MD, 21903 – Phone: (410) 378-8500
- Rocky Gap Casino Resort – 16701 Lakeview Rd, NE, Flintstone, MD, 21530 – Phone: (301) 784-8400
- Live! Casino and Hotel – 7002 Arundel Mills Cir Hanover, MD, 21076 – Phone: (443) 842-7000
- Ocean Downs – 10218 Racetrack Rd, Berlin, MD, 21811 – Phone: (410) 641-0600
- Horseshoe Casino – 1525 Russell St, Baltimore, MD, 21230 – Phone: (844) 777-7463
Seven retail sportsbooks have a license, and they are:
- MGM National Harbor and BetMGM Sportsbook – 7100 Oxon Hill Rd, National Harbor, MD 20745 – Phone: (844) 646-6847
- Horseshoe Baltimore and Caesars Sportsbook – 1525 Russell St, Baltimore, MD, 21230 – Phone: (844) 777-7463
- Long Shot’s – 5400 Holiday Drive Frederick MD 21703 – Phone: (301) 694-7507
- Ocean Downs and TwinSpires Sportsbook – 10218 Racetrack Rd, Berlin, MD, 2181 – Phone: (410) 641-0600
- Live! Casino Maryland and FanDuel Sportsbook – 7002 Arundel Mills Cir Hanover, MD, 21076 – Phone: (855) 5DM-LIVE
- Hollywood Casino and Barstool Sportsbook – 1201 Chesapeake Overlook Pkwy, Perryville, MD, 21903 – Phone: (410) 378-8500
- Riverboat-on-the-Potomac and PointsBet Sportsbook – 301 Beach Terrace, Colonial Beach VA 22443 – Phone: (804) 224-7055
Is online gambling legal in Maryland?
Yes. Fantasy sports and horse racing betting are legal and retail sports betting is legal. State-regulated online sports betting sites launched in 2022.
Since online casino and poker gambling are not legal in Maryland, is choosing an illegal offshore site safe?
Definitely not. Even if an offshore site claims it carries a license it is still illegal and unsafe to play there. Offshore sites are not regulated by a state gaming body, which means they are not held to the same standards as legal state-regulated sites. At offshore, sites players may be cheated and lose money.
What are the risks of playing at an illegal offshore online sports betting site?
There are plenty of them. The main one being they do not have fair practices in place and often do not pay winning players. They have been known to be very slow in payouts to encourage players to bet more and eventually lose their winnings.
There is also the issue of identity theft occurring and your banking information not being safe, and that is not the case at state licensed casinos, which have security measures in place.
Can I bet at legal us sportsbooks using cryptocurrencies?
No. No legal and licensed betting sites in the United States accept cryptocurrencies.
Where can i get the latest news about online sports betting in Maryland?
The easiest way to get that type of info is by checking out USGamingReview.com.