Maryland is a Mid-Atlantic state, which has gradually turned into a gambling hotspot, and interestingly enough, it is the very first US state to allow fantasy sports games over a decade ago. In spite of the fact that Maryland is somewhat late to the game and it is not as an appealing gambling destination as Nevada, its industry has started to quickly pick up steam after it followed suit and relaxed its grip on some gambling activities.
Up until recently, this only applied to poker tournaments and horse racing betting, but presently, brick-and-mortar casinos also attract huge crowds. The number of gambling options continues to grow, and, although at the moment, the options gambling enthusiasts are up against only include daily fantasy sports and pari-mutual horse racing betting, the state is set out to expand its gaming profile very soon.
The Gambling Industry of Southern Maryland
Maryland undoubtedly lists among the US states that have switched to a more liberal approach towards gambling in the past few years. Figures also show that gambling has acquired staggering popularity in the state, and all the more so in Southern Maryland. Much like with other American states, the history of Maryland is indeed mixed as laws have been passed and repealed multiple times in the past few years.
Currently, avid casino fans are given a choice from six brick-and-mortar casinos, including Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Hollywood Casino Perryville, Ocean Downs, Maryland Live! Casino, MGM National Harbor, and Rocky Gap National Harbor. The opening of these land-based casinos was made possible back in 2008 when the residents of the state-approved the idea of putting slot-like machines. A couple of years later, the implementation of table games was also approved by voters.
And how about online gambling? What is important to note is that, just like many other US states, at the moment, Maryland does not have legal poker sites or virtual casinos. With this in mind, citizens of the state can still gamble online legally and safely.
The first option to consider is betting on horse racing, and as it happens, Maryland is among the US states that allow their residents to place pari-mutual bets on events that are held around in all parts of the country. Betting on daily fantasy sports is also an option gambling enthusiasts are presented with from 2012 onwards. This was made possible after Maryland House Bill 7 was given the nod back then, and according to its provisions, wagering on such activities is no longer defined as a form of gambling.
The State of Maryland has been working at breakneck speed recently to ensure that residents of the state will be able to engage in sports betting without any hurdles. When sports betting was legalized in Southern Maryland on the 23 of May this year, this made fans of casino games hope that a signature will also be put on a bill, which legalizes online casinos.
Regulator Which Oversee The Gambling Activities in Maryland
It can safely be said that throughout the years, Maryland has gone back and forth when it comes to the options its residents are presented with in terms of the gambling activities they are allowed to engage in. Fortunately for residents of the state, the options they can choose between are by no means scarce as depending on their preferences, they can go for off-track betting, racetracks, and full-service casinos.
The regulatory body, which is tasked with the responsibility to oversee all gambling activities is the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission. It was established back in 1972 after a constitutional amendment, and it began work the following year. Initially, its responsibilities included selling lottery tickets and awarding prizes, but back in 2012, its duties changed, and it started to oversee the work of land-based casinos.
The Impact The Legalization of Sports Betting Will Have
A talk of change about the legal status of online sports betting appeared after the results from a referendum held back in 2020 were published. The expansion into sports betting was approved by the voters of Maryland, and the upcoming regulations and expected changes are most likely to come into effect in 2022. The sports betting measure was approved by more than 67% of the voters. Yet, the resounding “yes” of voters was just the first step towards the liberalization of online sports betting as lots of details should be made clear on paper first.
The future of the iGaming industry of Southern Maryland is looking even brighter after the results of the referendum became known. The recent work of lawmakers can also serve as a signal that the range of online gambling options might expand very soon, and players will have the freedom to bet on their favorite casino games whenever they want. Yet, we cannot say for sure what is coming in Southern Maryland, but the changing legal framework will easily continue to attract lots of attention.