What types of gambling are legal in Maryland?
Maryland was late to the gambling expansion craze in the US. However, it now has an active gaming industry that covers nearly all corners. One notable exception sports betting. That will be decided in a November 2020 ballot measure.
Legal Maryland Gambling Sites and Apps
Maryland residents and visitors will enjoy a wide variety of games. This includes slots, video poker, live poker, table games, a state lottery, horseracing and charitable gaming. Online options include horseracing, fantasy sports and lotto subscriptions.
- Horseracing (live, off-track and mobile)
- Lottery (scratch-offs, keno and lotto sales at retailers, lotto subscriptions on lottery website)
- Slots, poker, video poker and table games (casinos)
- Bingo, raffles and casino nights (only at registered charities)
- Daily fantasy sports (online only)
Maryland Online Gambling
There are three forms of legalized online gambling in Maryland. The oldest is off-track betting on horse races. These may be made on mobile devices through TVG. The Maryland Lottery sells lotto subscriptions for 13, 26 and 52 weeks. Daily fantasy sports players can enter contests through DraftKings, FanDuel, FantasyDraft and Yahoo.
Online Gambling Laws in Maryland
There are no laws that specifically target online gambling in Maryland. However, any form of gambling must be licensed to be legal. This leaves out offshore gaming sites because those are not licensed by the state.
Horseracing and the state lottery did not require a change of law to move betting online. These were done by a change of regulations by the governing body. Players must be at least 18 years of age.
Daily fantasy sports contests were legalized through a 2012 law that essentially mirrored the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which exempted fantasy sports. In 2017, the state comptroller’s office released regulations for it. It included a minimum age of 18, segregated player funds, a ban on college sports and a daily deposit limit.
There are six casinos in Maryland. These are regulated by the state lottery. Hollywood Casino Perryville was the first. It opened on September 17, 2010. It was followed by Ocean Downs a few months later. The other Maryland casinos are Maryland Live, Rocky Gap, Horseshoe and MGM National Harbor.
All typical games are legal in Maryland casinos. This includes slots, video poker and live and electronic table games, including poker. There are no bet limits at Maryland casinos. There are a combined 12,000 slots and 600 tables between the six Maryland casinos.
Casino Laws in Maryland
A 2007 special session of the Maryland Legislature produced a ballot initiative to legalize casinos. On November 4, 2008, voters approved Question 2 by a 59 to 41 margin. The law permitted five casinos in the state. In 2012, voters approved a sixth Maryland casino location. Question 7, which passed 52 to 48, also added table games to Maryland casinos. Originally, only slots, video poker and electronic table games were permitted. Casino players must be at least 21 years of age.
A ballot initiative to permit the state legislature sole discretion to expand gambling is expected to hit the 2020 ballot. It still must pass the house. It passed the state senate by a 46-1 vote.
Gross gaming revenues are taxed based on the type of device. Slots, video poker and electronic table games are taxed at a rate of 67 percent. Live table games and poker have a 20 percent tax rate.
Maryland Sports Betting
Sports betting is not currently legal in Maryland. However, a question will appear on the 2020 ballot that would change that. Bets must be made at sportsbooks as mobile would not be legal, at least in the original version.
Sports Betting Laws in Maryland
Maryland Criminal Code 12-102 states that making a bet or accepting one is a crime in the state. Anyone found guilty of this is subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and six to twelve months in prison.
There are four live poker rooms in Maryland. These range from a small room at Hollywood Casino in Perryville to large, full-service rooms at MGM National Harbor and Maryland Live. There is a total of 127 tables in the state. There are no game or bet limits.
Poker Laws in Maryland
Live poker was legalized through a statewide referendum that expanded gambling in 2012. Question 7 won by a 52 to 48 margin. It expanded the number of casinos in the state to six and permitted table games and live poker to compliment the existing slots and video poker. Online poker is not legal in Maryland.
Poker players must be at least 21 years of age. The state taxes rake at a rate of 20 percent.
Are Home Poker Games Legal in Maryland?
Home poker games are legal in Maryland under most circumstances. A game may not have more than $1,000 in cash in it. The house may not take a cut and the games must be fair to all particopants.
Before October 1, 2016, home poker games were illegal in Maryland. HB127 created these favorable home game rules. It passed the state legislature unanimously.
Maryland Daily Fantasy Sports
Fantasy sports are legal in Maryland. It was the first state to enact fantasy sports regulations. All major operators accept players from the state. These sites include DraftKings, FanDuel, Fantasy Draft and Yahoo. All contests must involve professional sports.
Fantasy Sports Laws in Maryland
On May 2, 2012, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a law that added the definition of online fantasy competitions to criminal code exemptions. The language of Maryland Criminal Code 12-114 mirrors the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
The law’s vague language led to some confusion in the state as to whether daily fantasy sports contests were meant to be included. In 2017, the state comptroller announced regulations for the industry. This included a minimum age of 18 years to play, deposit limits and a ban on college sports contests.
The Maryland Lottery offers a large menu of games. Scratch-off tickets sell from $1 to $30. Keno tickets are available from $1 to $20. Keno drawings are held every three minutes and a half minutes most hours of the day. There is Fast Play, a digital instant game, and a virtual racing game called Racetrax. There are eight lotto drawings held by the Maryland Lottery. Three are multi-state.
Interstate Maryland Lotto Drawings
- Cash for Life
- Mega Millions
Intrastate Maryland Lotto Drawings
- Pick 3
- Pick 4
- Bonus Match 5
- 5 Card Cash
Maryland Lottery Laws
Maryland voters approved the Maryland State Lottery Exception Amendment, Question 2 on November 7, 1972. This gave a state-run lottery an exemption from the constitutional ban. The first tickets were sold on May 15, 1973.
Maryland Horse Racing Betting
There are three live horseracing tracks in Maryland. These are at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and the Maryland State Fair. There are about 190 race days a year. Most are at Laurel Park.
There are three off-track betting parlors in Maryland. These are at Horseshoe Casino and two sports bars. Mobile bets on races may be made on the TVG app.
Maryland Horse Racing Laws
Horseracing’s roots date to before Maryland becoming a state. Bets were made on horses there during its colonial days well into its early statehood. It became a regulated activity of pari-mutuel betting in 1870 when Pimlico Race Course opened its doors.
Bets may be made on live and simulcast races. Off-track betting is permitted at licensed establishments, including sports bars. Mobile bets may be made on TVG. Pari-mutuel bettors must be at least 18 years of age.
Maryland racing laws are covered in two parts. You will find it in Maryland Criminal Codes 11-101 and 11-213.
Maryland Skill Games
Maryland Criminal Code 12-101 defines an illegal wager as one that is not licensed and includes betting or accepting wagers on bingo, sports, jai alai, raffles, gaming devices and games of chance. This leaves little in the way of legal unlicensed gambling unless it is done expressly through exceptions, such as charities and the state lottery.
Betting on eSports is illegal for observers in Maryland in any commercial setting. Participants and friends making bets on it would fall under the social gaming law.
Traditional Games of Skill
Traditional games of skill are considered illegal in Maryland. This include GSN’s Worldwinner. Sweepstakes sites, such as WPT Online, may accept players from Maryland.
Skill-based Gaming Machines
Skill-based gaming machines are legal at the state’s casinos for cash prizes. Arcades may offer these games for non-cash prizes.
Maryland Charity Gambling Law
Bingos, charities and casino nights are permitted under Maryland’s charity gaming laws. It is up to each county to decide the best fit. A total of 21 of the 24 counties permit the games. Players in bingo games and raffles must be at least 18 years of age. Casino night participants must be at least 21. Volunteers must be at least 18 for any charitable gaming activity. No prize’s value may exceed $500.
Maryland Gaming Regulator Directory
- Maryland Lottery
- Maryland Racing Commission
- Maryland Gaming Control Agency
- Charitable gaming regulated at county level