Maryland Online Sports Betting is More Popular Than Ever

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jul 6, 2023 08:00 PM
Maryland Online Sports Betting is More Popular Than Ever

Even though in-person wagering had a significant head start, Maryland online sports betting has already become the gambling method of choice for most of the state. And it isn't even kind of close.

Granted, this is the case for pretty much everywhere in the United States that allows mobile wagering. But online sports betting in Maryland debuted in November 2022, a full year after in-person wagering went live. When a new method for anything is introduced, it can take a while before catching on as the preferred option.

That's not the case here.

Maryland Online Sports Betting is Quickly Becoming a Monopoly Method of Gambling

This isn't just an instance of online sports betting representing a majority share of the wagers placed. Mobile gambling now accounts for nearly all of Maryland's latest wagering business. Though the data lags behind a few months, the most recent reports leave no room for interpretation. Here's Jeff Clabaugh from WTOP News with more:

"In addition to the mobile sports betting apps approved in Maryland, there are also 10 retail sports wagering facilities in the state, but the lion’s share of fan bets are placed on the mobile apps. In April, Maryland Lottery and Gaming reported sportsbooks handled more than $328.4 million in bets, with 95.4 percent of the total through mobile apps. The state’s share of sports wagering was $3.9 million, which goes to the Blueprint for Maryland Future Fund, which supports public education programs."

Quite frankly, this 95.4 percent share is staggering. It's actually well above the national average, too. Figures for 2023 haven't been made public since the calendar isn't yet closed, but last year, it's believed that around 75 to 80-plus percent of all wagers placed in the country were processed through one of the best online sportsbooks in the United States.

Even if we account for some expected growth in this sector, Maryland online sports betting is clearly taking on a larger portion of the wagering business than most other states. This isn't terribly surprising on the surface. Gamblers outside rural areas usually tend to gravitate toward remote options when given the chance. 

However, as Clabaugh noted, Little America houses 10 onsite wagering facilities throughout the state. That's a fairly robust number of options. And half of them are located within casinos. The other five retail betting sites are located at Bingo World in Brooklyn Park; Greenmount Station in Hampstead; Long Shot’s in Frederick; FedEx Field; and Riverboat on the Potomac in Charles County.

Maryland Leaning into the Online Sports Betting Model

There doesn't appear to be a unifying reason for why so many Maryland residents are placing bets online. It doesn't seem like an access issue, though it could be. Perhaps the most active sports bettors in Maryland don't live within driving distance of a casino or operator. It might also just come down to a matter of preference.

Whatever the reason, the state isn't shy about leaning into the latest trends. They're currently in the process of licensing another Maryland online sportsbook to join the fold.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, which oversees sports gambling, plans to issue a mobile betting license to Fanatics Sportsbook. They will become the 11th online sportsbook allowed to operate in Maryland.

This will mark something of a beta test for Fanatics Sportsbook. They are relatively new to the United States sports betting market. At present, they are active in Tennessee, Ohio and Massachusetts. Maryland will mark their fourth state of operations, and they have plans to aggressively expand beyond that reach.

Could the Success of Maryland Online Sports Betting Lead to Online Casinos?

Given how prevalent online sports betting in Maryland has become, the state isn't only contemplating the addition of mobile gambling operators. They're also thinking about expanding gaming laws to include Maryland online casinos. Such enterprises aren't legal in the state right now. This covers everything from digital slots and video games to poker and other traditional card games.

With that said, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission apparently plans to conduct a study to determine the impact of legalizing mobile casinos. According to PlayUSA's Katarina Vojvodic, the "study aims to understand the potential impact on players better if Maryland legalizes online casino gaming." It will "also focus on the estimated market size, economic results and effect on problem gambling."

The latter issue will be a biggie. The impact on "problem gambling" is always a critical talking point when dealing with the legalization (or expansion) of state gaming laws. Some believe the online casino initiative will go off without a hitch. After all, Maryland residents are already heavily invested in the mobile gaming market. For what it's worth, the state may also be looking to diversify its gambling revenue. The profits derived from sports betting have ebbed and flowed in recent months. One online sportsbook in Maryland even terminated a partnership with a local university. It's left many wondering whether the sports betting revenue stream could use a boost or needs to be subsidized.

That stance ultimately rings hollow. Sports betting revenue has peaks and values month-over-month, just like pretty much every other industry. And the sportsbook that parted ways with a local college, PointsBet, did so because they're exiting the United States market entirely.

Beyond that, Maryland has been among the more restrictive states when it comes to gambling regulations. They've clearly followed the money to some extent, but their business model hasn't followed a predictable trajectory. So while online sports betting is clearly popular throughout the state, there's no guarantee Maryland parlays that into mobile casinos. 

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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