Gambling has a lengthy history in Maryland, especially given the state’s illustrious horse racing heritage. Each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the Preakness Stakes, one-third of the revered Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing is conducted. However, gambling is not limited to those locations in Maryland.

The state is bustling with new operators and opportunities for avid gamblers, and we are here to figure out who regulates this industry. Which bills and regulations control Maryland’s gambling market?

Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency

The State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency was established as the State Lottery Agency by constitutional amendment in 1972 with General Assembly approval (Chapter 365, Acts of 1972, ratified November 7, 1972). Beginning operations on January 2, 1973, the Agency soon started selling lottery tickets and giving out rewards.

Gambling is usually governed by a combination of state and federal regulations, which include anything from casinos to racetracks to state lotteries. States like Maryland that allow gambling often have government departments or gaming commissions that oversee business activities, including hiring policies, game rules, and financial oversight. The majority of states will impose rigorous zoning requirements to keep racetracks and casinos apart from residential areas, schools, and other buildings. All casinos on Indian reservations are governed at the federal level by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

In November 2008, a statewide constitutional referendum allowed casinos. The Maryland Lottery is in charge of regulating the operation of casinos.

In addition to rebranding the organization as the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, the state approved legislation in 2012 that authorized table games.

Voters supported a referendum to authorize both retail and online sports betting in November 2020. Online sports betting didn’t become available until the summer of 2022, despite the fact that the state’s casinos officially opened their retail sportsbooks in December of 2021.

What games are legal in Maryland?

Maryland forbids online gambling, but local operators are permitted to run social gaming platforms. Slot machines and classic table games like roulette, blackjack, and poker are permitted at all Maryland casinos. Additionally, several counties allow charitable groups to organize poker and casino evenings.

Four casinos in Maryland run their own poker rooms. There is no regulated online poker market in the Old Line State. It’s against the law to play on foreign websites. In 2016, it became legal to play poker at home.

Maryland Casino Revenue in 2021

Maryland recorded casino revenue of $169.2 million in March. The state’s coffers received $172.4 million in casino income in May, thus that record-breaking month’s performance barely lasted for two months. And all of this revenue is generated in a state where not all types of gambling are legal, unlike states like New Jersey, for instance. You can check out iGaming NJ for articles about the state of New Jersey’s gambling market, see how much tax revenue it brings to the state, and how prosperous the industry has been in the last 9 years.

The state’s casino income surpassed $180 million for the first time in July when it brought in $180.1 million, setting the record that currently stands. Maryland tracks its financial records from July through June every year. Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency stated that it received a record $1.391 billion in tax revenue to the state in the 2020–21 fiscal year, including $723.5 million coming from the casinos.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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