Maryland has made the first steps in an attempt to legalize sports betting in the state. Lawmakers in Maryland are reviewing and making recommendations on how to regulate sports gambling, but it’s expected to be a lengthy process — in turn leaving sports bettors with no other options. Until now, that is. There are other alternatives for sports gamblers in Maryland to safely and legally place down wagers on pro or college sports games. Find out how.
Best Online Sports Betting Sites in Maryland
There are a handful of U.S. states that have legalized land-based sports betting and Maryland is not among them.
However, in November 2020, Maryland pushed a "sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education" bill. The Maryland referendum would potentially allow for both in-person and mobile sports betting. Fast-forward to May 2021, Governor Ralph Hogan signed legislation that meant that sports betting would go live in late 2021.
Legal Sports Betting in Maryland
With such strict rules in place, residents of Maryland have had no other choice than to take their business to online sports betting sites, which are licenced in their respective countries and making them legal for anyone to use.
The best alternative is to go to one of the offshore bookies such as Bovada. See below our full list of tested online betting sites that accept players from Maryland (with zero risks for the player) and are reliable when it comes to the security of payments and who do pay up when you win.
Sports Betting Timeline in Maryland
When the possibility to regulate sports betting opened uo in 2018, many states had bills ready to go and began passing them right away. Maryland was not such a state. They have gone through a few years of intense debate around sports betting to make sure that they passed the best bill for bettors and residents of Maryland.
2018 and 2019 Sees Little Legalization Progress
The first attempt to legalize sports betting was going to be a ballot initiative. They pre-empted the Supreme Court's decision that would have opened up the possibility for regulating sports betting by introducing the bill months before they even knew the final verdict.
The bill died in the senate and the voters in Maryland never got to weigh in on whether or not to legalize sports betting in the state.
MD HB 1132 was introduced in 2019, but once again failed to progress in any significant way. While the constitution of the state stipulates that a voter referendum would be needed to legalize sports betting, this bill would have circumvented that entirely by expanding the rights and privileges of the already-exisiting State Lottery.
The casino industry in the state did not like this, and the Attorney General warned of the shaky legal footing it was on. Ultimately, this bill did not pass.
2020-2021 People Vote to Legalize Sports Betting
After the legal blunders of 2019, advocates decided to return to their original strategy of a voter referendum. They were able to succeed in bringing the people a vote with MD SB 4, which was unanimously passed in March 2020. The state began charging at least $1.5 million per license, allowing a total of six for the state. They also had to pay a 20% tax rate.
The state was likely motivated by the pandemic, which was threatening to disrupt the revenue flow of governments around the world.
That November during the general elections, voters in Maryland overwhelming passed the bill into law. All that was left was to come up with the final details of the regulations for the industry.
The regulations were accomplished with HB 940, which allowed for 30 retail sportsbooks distributed throughout the state. Mobile and online bettors will be able to access sports betting through any of the sixty licenses available for online sportsbooks in the state.
Casino Gambling in Maryland
Casino gambling in Maryland is very hard to come across. While this is true, it isn't entirely impossible. There are a number of registered casinos for gamblers to enjoy, depending on which part of the state they're residing will depend on where they should aim to go.
Maryland Ocean Downs
The first casino we'll discuss is Ocean Downs Casino, which is a casino and harness racing track in Berlin, Maryland, very close by to Ocean City. The operation is managed and operated by Churchill Downs Inc. Construction. The casino was started in 1947 as a harness racetrack and fully opened at the end of the 1940s.
Maryland Live Casino Sports Betting
Another great option available to the residents of Maryland is live casino sports betting. There are a whole host of sites offering live casino tables as well as sports betting odds, which often provide competitive odds and a range of sports betting markets.
Hollywood Casino Perryville
Another option available to Maryland citizens is the Hollywood Casino in Perryville. The Casino has been in operation since 2010 and is managed by the Gaming and Leisure Properties company. It is a huge casino and offers over 1,500 slot machines, as well as poker tables and casino games.
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The state of Maryland took a massive step forward as a new bill — H989 — would have lawmakers study regulated sports betting and make recommendations on how to regulate it. If passed by the legislature, it would still have to be approved by a voter referendum in the state. From there, State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission would have full control of sports betting in the state. However, casinos and race tracks in Maryland could also apply for sports betting licenses to operate sportsbooks within their establishments.
Although the bill is still in its infancy stages, legalization of sports betting in Maryland would make it the fifth U.S. state to allow sports wagering. Nevada, Montana, Delaware and Oregon are the only other locations that have legalized sports betting in their respective states.
Until then, residents in Maryland must find other ways to safely and legally place wagers on professional or collegiate sporting events. Federal laws in place restrict anyone outside of those four states from laying a wager down on a sporting event either at an unlicensed brick and mortar or online sportsbook.
However, gamblers are finding ways around the strict federal laws — offshore sportsbooks that operate online. Under the federal laws, there are no rules against bettors in the U.S. from using these online sportsbooks, who are fully licensed in their respective country.
Legal Maryland Betting Sites
While officials in Maryland have taken the early steps in trying to legalize sports betting in the state, residents still have no other options when it comes to laying down a wager on a professional or collegiate sporting event.
Offshore sportsbooks that operate online have become game-changers for Maryland residents, who have for years been left out in the cold. Online sportsbooks have changed the way U.S. customers have placed wagers on sporting events. No longer do people have to travel to one of the four sports gambling accepted states to place a wager.
Bovada.lv not only has a full-fledged sportsbook offering any sport from the National Football League to English Premier League soccer, it also features an online casino with all the table games you crave from blackjack to poker.
Horse racing is an accepted form of betting Maryland, but for those who just don’t feel like going to live events in the state, gamblers can also tap into Bovada’s horse book, which features daily odds from tracks from around the world. Bovada will also give you up to $250 to bet on horses after you make your first deposit on the website.
Maryland may one day become the fifth state to allow sports betting. However, until then, you’ll find more and more customers in the state taking their business online.