Maryland was a latecomer to the casino industry, and presently there are now only six casinos in the state. Although a few counties legalized slot machines in the 1940s, Maryland doesn’t have any online casinos to date. On the other side, the state looks to be taking a softer stance on online poker and gambling on offshore sites.

Is it Legal to Gamble in Maryland Today?

Although internet sports betting and casinos are still illegal in Maryland today, there are various legal gambling choices. There are seven casinos, bingo halls, two racetracks, poker rooms, and a state lottery in the state.

Gambling Credit: Aidan Howe / Unsplash

Part of the renowned Triple Crown races, the Preakness Stakes is held at one of those states’ racetracks (Pimlico). Land-based casino games or card gaming nights with real cash bets are legal in Maryland, so keep a watch out for them in your neighborhood.

Like the rest of the country, Maryland residents can easily bet online at one of the many offshore casinos. Unlike some other states, Maryland has a reputation for being lenient when it comes to enforcing regulations. There have been no penalties imposed on Maryland residents who gambled at offshore online casinos while still within the state’s borders.

How Did We Get Here in Maryland Online Gambling?

  • Lotteries were initially legalized in 1791, and thousands of private lotteries operated at one time.
  • In 1834, the lottery was brought under control across the state, and new permits were no longer issued.
  • The first horse race was in Baltimore’s Pimlico Racecourse in 1873. It would go on to become one of the most prominent horse races in America during the season, with a tradition that continues to this day.
  • The Horse Racing Board was established in 1920.
  • Several Maryland counties adopted slot machines in 1943.
  • Maryland phased away legal slot machines between 1963 and 1968, once again outlawing one-armed bandits.
  • Slot machines were authorized for the first time in nearly 40 years, in 2007. The General Assembly passed a bill that year allowing up to 15,000 computers to be returned to the state.
  • The Hollywood Casino in Perryville became the state’s first officially licensed casino in 2010.
  • More casinos opened, and casino tables were legalized between 2011 and 2016.

Where Are We Today?

By a 2-1 margin, voters backed a referendum on sports betting in November 2020. In April 2021, the legislature enacted a one-of-a-kind framework for sports betting. Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill on May 18, 2021, immediately legalizing online and retail sportsbooks. Hogan then placed the first sports bet in Maryland history on December 9, 2021, bringing in a new era.

Maryland’s system includes a number of Class A licenses for online and retail sportsbooks that the state’s casinos, horse racing facilities, and professional sports clubs can claim. Class B licenses are available to state fairgrounds, off-track betting venues, bingo halls, and even clubs and restaurants.

The fact that Maryland has 60 online betting app licenses up for grabs, which will be open to a wide range of enterprises, is where things become very interesting. The objective is that more minority-owned enterprises will enter the sports betting industry.

In January, casinos in Maryland took in $32.5 million in wagers, the first entire month of sports betting in the state. This is more than double the amount of money gambled in the market’s first month. However, while bettors await the launch of an online marketplace later this year, they must also wait for the state to continue giving licenses to the 17 businesses mentioned in Maryland’s sports-betting legislation.

When Will Maryland Start Online Gambling?

The goal for late 2021 was to offer sports betting at retail locations. Five sportsbooks acquired licenses and began accepting bets before the end of the year.

However, the start date for online betting will be revealed soon. While we wait, you might consider online roulette at FanDuel casino today!  

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