Maryland’s online sports betting industry is launching today, Wednesday, at 9 a.m. The launch was confirmed Tuesday morning by Gov. Larry Hogan, with seven sportsbooks to be active during this initial phase. The market’s debut comes two years after state voters passed a referendum approving sports betting.
“This process took longer than it should have, but we are excited that this launch is in time for fans to place their bets on all the Thanksgiving Day NFL action, college football rivalry weekend, this week’s slate of NBA games, the 2022 World Cup, and this Sunday’s Ravens and Commanders games,” said Governor Hogan.
“In addition to allowing Marylanders to bet on the NFL, March Madness, and so much more, sports betting is helping us keep these critical dollars in the state, and is providing another critical revenue source for Maryland schools,” he added. “It is anticipated to bring in up to $30 million in revenue next year, and that total is expected to reach nearly $100 million by 2027.”
Gov. Larry Hogan
While Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) approved earlier this month 10 mobile sports betting licenses, only seven operators are ready to launch Wednesday. These are:
- Barstool Sportsbook (operator for PENN Maryland/Hollywood Casino)
- BetMGM (operator for BetMGM Maryland Sports/MGM National Harbor)
- BetRivers (operator for Arundel Amusements/Bingo World in Brooklyn Park)
- Caesars Sportsbook (operator for CZR Maryland Mobile Opportunity/Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore)
- DraftKings (operator for Crown MD Online Gaming)
- FanDuel (operator for PPE Maryland Mobile/Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover)
- PointsBet (operator for Riverboat on the Potomac in Charles County)
Ahead of the statewide launch, sportsbooks were awarded licenses by the SWARC and worked with Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff to fulfill operational requirements. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of a multi-year effort to get sports betting fully up and running in the State of Maryland,” Gov. Hogan’s office said Tuesday.
In Nov. 2020, Marylanders voted in favor of the referendum to legalize sports betting, and Gov. Hogan then signed HB 940 into law in May of 2021. In-person sports betting was launched in Maryland in Dec. 2021. However, online betting took longer to cross the finish line, following what the Gov. called “numerous legal, political, and bureaucratic delays.”
Maryland State Lottery Director John Martin
Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency Director John Martin said the state is looking to get to 21 apps over the coming year, according to WBAL TV. “We anticipate that in late spring, early summer of 2023, prior to the kickoff of the next football season, the Maryland market will include up to 21 mobile entities and between 15 and 20 facility licenses,” he stated.
Ahead of today’s launch, license awardees had to successfully complete a controlled demonstration of their systems and procedures for the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. Operators participated Monday night in a trial run that allowed Marylanders to place wagers between 2-10 p.m. as state regulators took notes.
“We made sure that the platforms operated correctly and procedures worked,” Martin noted. Three remaining licensees were not prepared to launch this week, and are expected to do so shortly: Betfred, operator for Long Shot’s in Frederick; BetParx, operator for Greenmount Station in Hampstead; and Fanatics, operator for Maryland Stadium Sub/Washington Commanders in Landover.
Corporate profits from mobile sports betting will be taxed at 15%, while individual winnings will be subject to the same tax liability they would face with more traditional income. All Maryland-approved apps will deploy geo-fencing to exclude people who are outside the state’s geographic boundaries.
The launch of legal online sports wagering is set to trigger an avalanche of marketing and advertising as sportsbooks compete to earn early market share. Many companies, including several industry leaders, started offering money this week to entice customers to sign up, with some having promised $1,000 in free bets to people who lose on their first wager.