Is Sports Betting Legal in Maryland?
Maryland gamblers will remember May 18 as the day Gov. Larry Hogan signed the final sports betting bill from the state legislature after Maryland voters overwhelmingly voted to have sports betting. When that bill passed after voter approval, Maryland joined nearly two dozen other states in legalizing sports betting with hopes of making much-needed tax revenue.
Maryland residents have had casino gaming, horse racing and a state lottery for years. So, the Bay State was fertile ground for the increasingly popular form of gambling that has been flourishing in the U.S. market since a landmark 2018 Supreme Court decision allowed states to legalize sports betting as they saw fit.
Maryland Sports Betting Laws and Regulations
Maryland sports betting came into being through a law passed in 2021 legalizing sports betting and authorized the issuance of up to 60 sports betting licenses. Minority and women-owned businesses will get priority access to sports betting licenses, as will Maryland's current (and future) professional sports stadiums. Maryland is at the vanguard of assuring opportunities for those women-owned businesses as well as those owned by minorities.
Projected Sports Betting Sites
Sports betting hasn't officially started in Maryland, but some big names in the industry are already gearing up for business. These are some of the possible Maryland sports betting apps, websites, and brick-and-mortar brands that will be available to bettors:
DraftKings Sportsbook MD
Originally a daily fantasy sports application, DraftKings has become a full-service sportsbook, not only offering an online experience, but partnering with casinos to run their sports betting operation. Maryland DraftKings is only the latest location where the sportsbook has set up shop; the company already operates in a dozen states.
FanDuel Sportsbook MD
These guys are the Chevy to DraftKings' Ford. FanDuel is another DFS service turned sportsbook. They have sports betting operations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia already, so a Maryland FanDuel Sportbook is an obvious choice for expansion.
BetMGM Sportsbook MD
This is the sports betting arm of the greater MGM casino empire (that includes the MGM National Harbor Casino in Maryland). BetMGM MD has already partnered with several local sports franchises to provide bookmaking services, and with the MGM National Harbor casino, you can rest assured the lion logo will be ubiquitous in Maryland.
BetRivers Sportsbook MD
BetRivers started as a land-based casino operator in Illinois, but they've now expanded their web and mobile betting experience to several other states. MD BetRivers is an up-and-comer in the industry, which means their sign-up bonuses are known to be generous.
Caesars Sportsbook MD
The Horseshoe Casino is a Caesars Entertainment property, so this brand is well-established in Maryland. Look for Caesars to be a player in both brick-and-mortar and online bookmaking.
PointsBet Sportsbook MD
PointsBet has been limited to a few Midwest states, plus New Jersey, but with Maryland throwing open the doors to bookmakers, look for PointsBet MD Sportbook to bring its unique betting system to the state.
FOX Bet Sportsbook MD
The BetStars online gambling brand didn't go away, it just renamed itself FOX Bet. Sports bettors rave about the innovative loyalty bonuses and contests at FOX Bet Sportbook MD.
Unibet Sportsbook MD
Unibet brings years of experience as one of the top sportsbook in Europe, so Maryland bettors can be confident the Unibet MD Sportsbook will be among the top betting apps available, if not the best, on the market.
Most Popular Sports Bets
Sports bettors are omnivores; they enjoy a wide variety of bet types. Sports bettors also love combining multiple sporting events in parlays and teasers. Regardless of your bet, remember that the sports lines and odds you see reflect the betting market and its aggregate prediction of how the game will turn out.
The moneyline is just picking one team or individual to beat another. It's also a simple way to describe the ratio of risk and reward for any bet on a $100 basis. When you see a negative money line (like -200) it means for every $200 you risk, you win (or profit) $100. A positive moneyline (like +150) shows you the amount of profit per $100 risked.
Also known as in-game betting, these are bets offered by bookmakers during a contest. With the advent of algorithm-driven odds, bookmakers offer an array of wagers from the game outcome to the outcome of the next play, possession, or at-bat.
If you like jacking up the odds on your bets, you can combine more than one outcome in a parlay bet. You can even combines two simultaneous events. You can parlay 2 or more games, as many as you want, and the payout odds grow very quickly. However, every part of the parlay must win for the bet to cash; if you hit nine parts of a 10-way parlay but miss the 10th, you lose.
The more likely an outcome is, the lower the payout. To balance out a game between a championship contender and a basement dweller, bookmakers offer a point spread. This is a handicap applied to the final score of the game. The Baltimore Ravens might be listed as a 7-point spread favorite against the Washington Football Team during NFL season. If the Ravens win 28-17, Baltimore covers and its backers win. If the Ravens only win 21-17, Washington bettors win even though the team didn't.
You can bet that the combined points, goals, or runs scored by both teams will be either over or under a number listed by the bookmaker. For example, if the total on a Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees game is 8.5, and you're expecting a pitchers' duel, you'd bet on the Under. As long as the total runs scored stays at 8 or lower, your under bet wins.
A long-term wager unrelated to a single game is a futures bet. Popular futures bets include yes/no propositions like "Will the Orioles make the playoffs in 2022?" or an outcome with multiple possibilities like "How many teeth will Alexander Ovechkin have at the end of the 2022 NHL season?"
If you want to double-click into specific outcomes in a game, you can bet on a proposition or 'prop' such as "How many touchdowns will Lamar Jackson score in the first half?"
Deposits and Withdrawals
To bet with an online bookmaker, you'll need to open an account and deposit money. Like a bank account, this balance will fund your sports wagering. When you bet, your balance will go down. When you win, it will go up.
Almost every legal online sportsbook accepts deposits in the same way you pay for any other online transaction. Credit cards and wire transfers are universally accepted, and many online bookmakers accept some form of crypto-currency, Western Union, as well as mail-in checks and money orders. Prepaid cards such as those from Play+ or PayPal are great methods.
You can withdraw the same way. The best online bookmakers let you connect your betting account to your bank account for easy transfers at no charge.
How to Bet on Sports in Maryland
Sports betting in Maryland is legal. At this time, regulators have not announced any specific age for regulated sportsbooks. It is expected to be 21+. Beyond that there are few hard requirements. Sports betting in Maryland will be as simple as walking into a legal sportsbook and laying cash down on a bet. When online betting launches it will require browser-based bettors to download an app that shows they are located within Maryland. Mobile bettors will need to download a bookmaking app to their phone or tablet.
There is usually no requirement to register in person prior for online betting but this could change by the time online sports betting launches. Online sportsbooks will require some security information before you can deposit and withdraw money from the account.
Top Maryland Sports Teams to Bet On
Sports fans in the Old Line State have a multitude of popular pro teams. Here are a few of the local favorites for betting in Maryland.
This is the team to bet (and perhaps the team to beat) in the AFC North. Betting tip: Wager on Ravens preseason games! Their stellar preseason record against the spread is proof that Coach John Harbaugh insists on winning every game, whether it counts in the standings or not.
As it became clear that the Washington Nationals were moving toward in-stadium mobile betting, the area's other major league franchise became a big backer of Maryland's legalization effort. Next time you're in the house that Ripken built, you'll probably be a few steps away from a sportsbook as well, where you can bet on baseball moneylines, run lines, totals, and more.
Washington Football Team
While the Hogs are working on a multi-decade drought without an NFL playoff win, something big is brewing at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. NFL bettors in MD might consider betting the under for the Washington Football Team's opponents in 2021; Washington's defense could be a force for the foreseeable future.
The Caps have become a perennial playoff contender and even chiseled their name into Lord Stanley's Cup in 2018. Hockey fans know that they've been an undervalued team for nearly a decade. If you did nothing but bet on the Maryland NHL team the Capitals every game they were on the road, you'd have made a profit every single year since 2014.
Sure, the recent history of the local hoops franchise isn't replete with playoff success, but Russell Westbrook and friends are a fun gateway into NBA betting in Maryland. The Washington Wizards were a 60% team against the spread in 2020, and they've been surprisingly profitable at home over the last 5 seasons.
Why Place Bets Online?
Some people love the aura and camaraderie of a physical sportsbook, with its enthusiastic fans, the proximity to the bar, the massive betting menu, and of course dozens of games playing on TVs in every direction. But don't sell online sports betting short. Whether you use a browser or a mobile device, there are some serious advantages to having legal sports bets in the palm of your hand. Here are a few:
Convenience: Who wants to go to a crowded sportsbook, crane your neck at the betting board, then wait in line with the hoi polloi to place a bet? Online sports betting is like having your own personal VIP betting window at your fingertips.
In-game betting: For in-game wagers, online sports betting is the only way to go. Responsive technology has enabled online bookmakers to offer dynamic minute-by-minute, play-by-play bets.
Promotions: Retail sports betting is fine if all you care about is proximity to a full bar. But if you're looking for promotions and perks, you'll want to sign up with online bookmakers in Maryland.
Options: What's easier than navigating to a new website or downloading another app to your mobile device? Betting online is Maryland is a great way to go, because with so many licenses up for grabs, in the future you will be able find the online bookmaker that suits your needs to a tee.
Maryland Sportsbook Bonuses & Promotions
Maryland's open sports betting law means that dozens of bookmakers will be competing for your business. Take advantage of promotional offers, whether in person or online when launched in Marland . Here are a few:
This is the most common perk for an online account. When you deposit money, the bookmaker gooses your account with extra money. There are often rules for how many times you have to risk these bonus dollars before you can withdraw them.
For signing up at a new bookmaker, you might get a free roll. That is, you can wager up to a certain amount and if the bet loses, the bookie acts like it never happened. That is why many sportsbooks call these risk free bets.
Some online bookmakers offer odds boosts. For example, if you like betting on Major League Baseball games in MD, you might bet the Baltimore Orioles +140 to win a game. With an odds boost in effect, the house might pay your winning bet at +180 instead.
Bad Beat Forgiveness
If you've ever had a sports bet turn from sure winner into sudden loser through a missed chip shot field goal or a miracle half-court shot, then you know the bitter taste of a bad beat. Some online sportsbooks will occasionally refund bets lost on a bad beat.
If you've walked down the Strip in Las Vegas and seen all those billion dollar mega-hotels, it probably has occurred to you that gamblers rarely beat the house in the long run. Some folks can't handle the allure of the action, and that can lead to major personal and financial troubles.
Fortunately, Maryland's gambling statutes provide for funding for various programs to help promote responsible gaming and prevent problem gambling. For starters, the state's casinos have strict restrictions to prevent under-age gambling. There's a 24-hour confidential hotline connecting folks with an addiction counselor. There are also voluntary exclusion programs; people can register with Maryland casinos so that they will automatically limit or refuse your bets. And of course there are many online resources to help you determine if you might have a gambling problem, and to guide you to someone who can help.
Maryland Sports Betting FAQ
Yes. Gov. Larry Hogan signed a law in mid-May authorizing legal sports betting in Maryland, including online sports betting, after the Maryland legislature pushed through the legislation. Officials are targeting Labor Day for the sports wagering launch date for retail bookmakers; online sportsbooks are likely to start later. That means bookmakers should accept bets on the NFL season.
As of the summer of 2021, Maryland does not have a minimum sports betting age. This is because the state regulators have not decided on the legal betting age in MD. Bettors 18 and older can bet at offshore sites; however, it is strongly advised to avoid these operators.
Yes. The IRS and Maryland's tax collector both consider gambling winnings of any kind to be taxable income, whether you've won on a longshot at Pimlico or hit the jackpot in the Maryland lottery. You can only deduct losses (up to the amount you won) if you itemize in your return.
Yes, DFS is legal in Maryland.
All gaming regulation in Maryland is handled by the Gaming and Regulatory Oversight Division of the Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, overseen by an appointed, 7-member state commission. This state agency regulates horse racing, the Maryland lottery, casino table games, bingo, and more.
While there's no specific tax on a Maryland sports bet, you will be subject to Maryland's income tax should your bet win. The highest Maryland state income tax bracket is 5.75%.
Mark Strotman writes about the NBA and sports betting for MarylandBets.com. He is a veteran sports journalist who covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports.