Michael McKean is an experienced writer with a portfolio that includes work on the subjects of sport, gambling, travel and finance. With a background rooted in journalism, Michael first ventured into the professional writing world based in Switzerland, where he wrote for a number of language and travel sites and magazines before moving into the world of sports writing and gambling sites.
As an avid soccer fan, who follows everything from the Scottish lower leagues to the European elites, he has earned himself a solid reputation as a reliable football betting tipster and predictor. Outside of work, Michael has always gotten involved with grassroutes football everywhere he has worked and lived - UK, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil - and still isn’t shy when it comes to pulling the boots on himself. As well as soccer, he has also developed a love of North American sports, particularly ice hockey - a love which began in Switzerland and saw him venture across the pond to follow the NHL. Moving away from dry land, he’s also a keen longboard surfer and is happiest when writing with a view of the ocean.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Maryland?
Is online gambling Maryland as confusing as some states across the United States? The country has a conflicting relationship with the activity because it’s trying to modernize old laws. However, it takes a while to find the middle ground, and nowhere is that better highlighted than Maryland.
With sports betting and daily fantasy sports opening up - but online casino wagering still waiting in the wings - the Old Line State’s rule may not seem straightforward. Our guide is here to simplify things by showing you what gamblers can and can’t do online in Maryland.
The legal status quo in Maryland - the scoop on online gambling Maryland
Although some elements of online gambling in Maryland are restricted, there are worse places to be if you like to place wagers. As gambling laws by state go, Maryland is beginning to branch out and make certain features accessible, such as sportsbooks and daily fantasy sports services. The legislation was signed into law as recently as May 2021, which means online sports betting won’t be available until late 2021 or early 2022. Still, the fact that sports wagering is now legal should give you peace of mind.
In many ways, the recent legislation surrounding sports and daily fantasy sports betting is in line with the state’s historical approach. Wagering has been illegal throughout the majority of the US for around a century, at least that’s what people assume. The truth is those specific elements were legalized as early as the 19th century. Maryland is a prime example as horse racing betting has been around since 1870.
Charitable gaming and lotteries followed in 1952 and 1972, respectively, while land-based casinos were legalized in 2008. DFS has been accessible since 2012, so it’s not surprising that online and in-person sports wagering markets were opening up in 2021. Online casinos appear to be some way off, which isn’t unusual when compared to the rest of America. Still, a precedent has been set for all online gambling components to one day be legal to customers.
Sports betting in Maryland - is online gambling legal in Maryland?
We are happy to report that online sports betting is legal in Maryland! Rejoice! Like most places, the ball started rolling in 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down the Professional Sports and Amateur Protection Act that had prevented wagering on sports for 26 years. Once it was deemed unconstitutional, the floodgates were forced open and states began to follow the examples of the likes of Nevada and New Jersey. After all, online gambling sites in Nevada had a near-monopoly on sports gambling until 2018.
By 2020, the government in Maryland decided it was time to let the public pass judgment on the legalization of sports betting. That year, a referendum on online gambling Maryland regarding sports was held and it passed by a significant majority of a two-to-one margin. The citizens of the Free State spoke, and their voices were overwhelmingly positive. Maryland’s legislature had no choice but to introduce House Bill 940 in 2021.
It was signed into law in May 2021, making online and retail sports betting legal throughout state lines. Aside from the internet, the bill also specified the state’s six casinos, pro sports stadiums, horse racing tracks as locations for punters to place wagers on sports. As a result, several top bookmakers, including the biggest brands in North America, are expected to launch sports betting services to Maryland residents in the coming months.
The only exception is horse racing. Not only is it already legal, but online horse racing operators must adhere to a particular framework. Therefore, you need a specialist like TVG. As far as Maryland is concerned, though, there’s plenty of excitement among customers because consumers will finally get to place bets on their favorite sports without fear of prosecution. Governor Larry Hogan and House Bill 940 have made sure of that.
When sportsbooks are live, the following table of recommended sites will come in handy for helping you select the ideal operator.
Casino gaming in Maryland - the dos and don’ts of Maryland internet gambling
Unfortunately, the dos and don’ts of casino gaming in Maryland are the same - avoid it. Regular readers of our content will know that we don’t say things like this without good reason. You’re right, and that reason is that online casino gambling is very much behind its sports and daily fantasy sports cousins. The laws have been around for decades and don’t appear to be going anywhere.
Indeed, the legislature updated the Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Title 12, Subtitle 1, Section 1-102 in April 2019. This shows the local government’s attitude towards the activity because they are actively making it harder to place bets online in an era when it should be easier. If you’re wondering what they did, they increased the size of the fine for anyone caught placing a bet unlawfully. Today, a citation may land you a fine between $500 and $1,000, which is why it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Another negative is the thorough definition Maryland attributes to gambling. The law states that anyone who receives anything of value falls into the category. Therefore, the vagueness means it’s easy to argue that online casino betting falls under the umbrella definition. If you think it’s weird that there is a difference between sportsbooks and casino games, you will be surprised to hear that several states use the same logic. For example, Montana is happy to permit sports betting, poker, horse racing, and lotteries, yet online casinos are prohibited. That means Montana gambling sites are similar to Maryland websites.
It’s not all doom and gloom for casino-lovers, though, since land-based establishments have been around for 13 years. From 2008, the legislation has allowed six traditional casinos to welcome customers, meaning you can visit a brick-and-mortar organization if you live nearby.
You can find our recommended providers in the table below.
Online poker in Maryland - do Maryland online gambling sites offer poker services?
Online poker in Maryland probably has the biggest gray area of all the gambling verticals in the industry. There’s a simple reason for this - there’s not a law that admits it or explicitly outlaws it. If you are inclined, you can argue that your position is right, depending on where you stand on the debate. The same applies to places like Nebraska because the Cornhusker State has no direct laws surrounding poker either. As such, Nebraska internet gambling is possible in terms of online poker, as most operators accept Nebraskans.
You’ll be glad to hear that Marylander's are also accepted by online poker providers. So, if you’re itching to play and don’t want to wait for the local authority to pass a bill, your best option is to head to an international poker site. An unregulated US platform is risky because it isn’t state-licensed. An offshore website, on the other hand, doesn’t have a state permit, but it doesn’t require one as Maryland’s rules don’t apply to European, South American, or Asian businesses.
Other than that, you can play at home - home poker was legalized in 2016 - or travel to a land-based casino with a poker room. Four out of the six casinos in Maryland have them, so they aren’t rare. T
This list is the best place to look for poker services in Maryland because the operators have been vetted by Captain Gambling.
Fantasy sports in Maryland - DFS & Maryland internet gambling
This is where things become much clearer. Maryland may seem as if it’s far behind some of the other states in America. Let’s face it - Michigan has much more liberal attitudes towards online gambling overall. This is part of the reason why the online gambling Michigan industry is one of the most extensive and profitable in the United States. Still, even Michigan struggles to compete with Maryland’s proactive attitude where daily fantasy sports are concerned.
The bill legalizing DFS services was passed as far back as 2012, making Maryland one of the first states to see the benefits of online gambling. It did take a few years for the government to write a concise framework for customers to follow, yet this doesn’t take away from the fact DFS markets have been around for almost ten years.
As far as restrictions go, there are very few of them. There is a $1,000 maximum deposit, and operators can’t provide markets on college sports, but other than that, you’re free to enjoy the sector! For more information on the most suitable fantasy sports operators in Maryland, please take a look at this table.
Social casinos in Maryland - Maryland gambling laws surrounding social casinos
Social casinos are another success story in Maryland because online gambling Maryland laws don’t apply. That makes them legal, which is always a good thing as it gives you the flexibility to enjoy your favorite titles. However, you may not know what social casinos are and how they differ from other variants, so it’s important to outline the distinction.
Essentially, they provide casino games online for players to enjoy. The thing that sets them apart is the fact that zero money changes hands. As a result, they are typically not illegal across the US. A good way to understand them is to compare them with sweepstakes casinos as they use a similar strategy. The only difference is that you can swap the coins you win at sweepstakes casinos for real money. This isn’t possible at social casinos.
The great thing about this format is that you don’t get anything in return other than the fun you get out of playing casino games. Also, you can test your skills without the fear of blowing your budget. As long as not winning rewards doesn’t take away from the excitement, you may want to consider the following social casino operators to fill a hole:
Caesar's Social Casino
Other betting options in Maryland - what services are on the table?
It’s always worth considering other online gambling options when your favorites aren’t available. In Maryland, there’s a healthy selection of alternatives that you can substitute. They come with some caveats, yet that’s normal in the US!
Pari-mutuel horse racing betting is available at off-track facilities, such as online websites, as well as at the tracks themselves. Internet platforms provide odds through a scheme known as advance deposit wagering (ADW). The betting company gets the odds from the track and acts as a middle man. TVG and TwinSpires are the two main brands in MD.
Online lottery services aren’t allowed, but lottery games are sold in Maryland through the Maryland Lottery. Classic products like Pick 3, Mega Millions, and Powerball are all available, as is simulated horse racing in the form of Racetrax.
Again, digital bingo isn’t allowed in Maryland, but live bingo halls do exist. The closest the state comes to online bingo wagering is electronic instant bingo machines. These can be found in Anne Arundel and Calvert.
Editor’s recommendation — the best operator for online gambling Maryland
Due to the regulations in Maryland, it’s tough to recommend an online gambling Maryland operator that covers all the bases. For now, the best option for MD players is to stick with legal providers, which means DFS and sportsbooks. In this case, it means choosing between DraftKings and FanDuel as they are the most reputable brands in the US. To us, DraftKings edges it at the moment thanks to its mobile sports betting platform that is superior to FanDuel.
Plus, when sportsbooks do go live within the next couple of months, DK has an eclectic mix of domestic and international sports events for customers to pick from. If you want an operator to watch out for, we want to divert your attention to Barstool Sports. Barstool is quickly becoming a household name in North America due to its modern take on gambling. For Marylanders, that could mean access to a fine-tuned mobile application that specializes in sports. It’s already valued at $450 million, and Penn National, its parent company, has a casino in MD.
Therefore, the door is ajar for Barstool Sports to slip in and take on the big boys when sportsbooks are activated in the state. You won’t have to wait long to find out whether the company is successful.
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What does the future hold for betting and gaming in Maryland - is there hope for casinos?
The environment for gambling is already pretty positive. Online gambling Maryland services apply to several verticals, including the recent introduction of sports betting in 2021. ADW and pari-mutuel horse racing websites have been around for years, as have daily fantasy sports sportsbooks. From this perspective, there isn’t much more for Maryland to do.
Of course, the massive elephant in the room is the lack of online casino establishments. At the time of writing, they are illegal and in no way appear as if they will be allowed any time soon. This is sad for casino enthusiasts, yet the six land-based establishments within the state are positive signs.
Hopefully, online poker will follow suit because the gray area puts lots of people off signing up with an operator that will gladly accept their custom. Again, there are no upcoming bills, or any being debated to suggest this will occur shortly.
Conclusion - simplifying some confusing Maryland gambling laws
There are a couple of key attributes concerning online gambling Maryland. The main thing to remember is the legal verticals, which currently consist of fantasy sports betting, online sports betting, and horse racing betting. Lotteries and bingo are accessible, yet you can’t play them online. Online casino offerings aren’t legal, and if you come across one that claims to be legitimate, you should avoid it like the plague.
The good news is, Maryland isn’t as strict as it appears on the surface. Several states don’t let you gamble in any form, so if you take anything away from this guide, let it be that!
Online casinos seem to split opinion because different states have different rules. Even the ones that legalize certain verticals will still prevent online casinos from providing services in their state. For people who enjoy slots and table games, this is problematic as it stunts your enjoyment. Is Maryland the same or has it gone its own way? Our guide reveals everything you need to know about online casinos.
㊙ What should I look for when selecting an operator?
There are a host of factors that make an operator suitable. Most of them are individual to the player, which is why it’s essential for users to go with what feels suitable. Otherwise, you may choose poorly and end up wasting your time and money. If you want to know about the general considerations to take into account, our Maryland guide will happily point them out.
〰 Are there brick-and-mortar casinos in Maryland?
Online casinos and sports betting providers are rapidly transforming into the go-to operators for modern gamblers. Still, they don’t have a monopoly on the industry. Land-based establishments have been around for much longer and offer a service you may enjoy. After all, it’s always healthy to mix things up a bit. Each state decides whether traditional casinos are allowed, which is why you should refer to our Maryland casino guide for inspiration.