Figures for March 2023 in the Maryland sports betting industry suggest a positive outlook for the future of online wagering. Combined revenues for retail and online sportsbooks for the month created contributions to the state of $5.3 million, a record contribution since the commencement of legal retail sports betting in December 2021 and online sports betting in November 2022.

The figure for March was a significant increase on the $2.7 million return for February. Such an increase is a positive indication for the future of online betting in the state.

Credit: Ben Hershey

Record betting is good news for online sportsbooks

The high level of contributions to the state from the sports industry in Maryland in March 2023 is excellent news for an industry that began with the launch of five retail sportsbooks in December 2021. Returns have since been boosted by the introduction of online sports betting, with seven mobile sportsbooks launching in November 2022. As of March 2023, there are now eight mobile sportsbooks operating, as well as 10 retail betting outlets.

The growth in numbers of online sports betting operators is one factor in the high return figures in March which were also helped by betting on March Madness, the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. This event is one of the most highly anticipated in the sporting calendar and attracts a lot of betting interest.

The ability to wager on March Madness using mobile betting for the first time increased betting revenue which is good news for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund that is supported by the state’s return from betting. This fund supports public education programs in the state.

Probability of a legal online casino industry unlikely to be increased by the success of sports betting

Despite the benefits to the state from its 15% tax returns from sports betting, including online sportsbooks, it seems unlikely that online casinos will become legal in the state anytime soon. The “Internet Gaming Authorization and Implementation Act,” (Senate Bill 267) was introduced by senators Ron Watson and Nancy King in January 2023. The Bill asks voters in the state if they want to ballot the expansion of casino gaming online.

Credit: the blowup

However, the Bill is still with the Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee where it was submitted on January 25, 2023. So, the state legislature has now moved past its “Crossover Day” without acting on the measure. “Crossover Day” is the date three weeks prior to the legislature adjourning for the year.

Given the lack of action on the “Internet Gaming Authorization and Implementation Act,” natives of Maryland will be limited to sports betting online and playing casino games at offshore sites for the foreseeable future. Using offshore sites in this way is common even in countries such as the UK, where online casinos are legal. UK players seeking a variety of casino game experiences often choose to play at casinos like the non UK sites listed in this article, and the money they wager does not contribute to the UK economy. So, even if online casinos are legalized in Maryland, people may still choose to play games at offshore sites. However, many will choose to use legal online casinos in Maryland if they ever become a reality. If this happens, it will lead to an increased benefit to the state, but it’s far from certain whether online casino play will ever be legalized in Maryland in the way that online sports betting has been.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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