Maryland Sports Betting 2021
We've got good news for Marylanders. Residents and visitors of the Old Line State will soon be joining much of the rest of the country in legal sports betting after the Maryland state legislature passed a broad and expansive sports betting legalization bill in April 2021.
So when can the bets start flowing? The bill sent to the governor was marked as an emergency measure, meaning the law takes effect as soon as the Governor's ink is dry. Insiders believe Maryland sportsbooks will swing into operation as early as September 2021, just in time for football season. Online sportsbooks will almost certainly take longer but are on the horizon.
There are many details still to be worked out by government and industry, but whether you're in McHenry, Ocean City or somewhere in between, you can count on us to give you the latest on online Maryland sports betting.
Best Maryland Sports Betting SitesCheck out the latest welcome offers from the top online sports betting sites available in Maryland.
Best Maryland Online Sports Betting Sites
The Maryland sports betting bill has a distinctly open-market approach, with as many as 60 licenses available for online bookmakers. That means sports betting in Maryland will be a bettor's paradise, because it will bring the very best online bookies to the state, and they'll be competing for your business by providing the best service, odds, and bonuses. Only a few other states created the same kind of "all-comers" law to welcome bookmakers to the state like Maryland has. Here are the Maryland online betting sites we think bettors will see in the near future:
- BetMGM: With the MGM National Harbor Casino currently in operation in Oxon, it's a near certainty that BetMGM will be licensed to operate in Maryland
- PointsBet: Currently operating only in six other states, this Australia-based bookmaker could bring its unique points-based sports betting offering (PointsBetting) and local odds boosts to Marylanders later this year.
- Bet365: The 800-pound online gorilla operates in New Jersey, Colorado and perhaps New York soon. Expect it to be a part of Maryland legal sports betting as well.
- DraftKings: A Daily Fantasy innovator, DraftKings has eyes on a national footprint and already has experience operating legally in the Maryland market. Expanding its footprint from DFS to sports betting is a natural fit.
- 888Sport: With plans to be in six states by the end of the 2021, some experts speculate that Maryland's relatively liberal legal framework will make it a top target for 888Sports.
- FanDuel: Like DraftKings, FanDuel is an experienced DFS operator in Maryland, so its entry into the Maryland sports betting market is nearly inevitable.
- FOX Bet: If you don't recognize the name, this is the old BetStars name rebranded. It is in six states and has some of the most innovative member bonuses available.
- William Hill: A huge player in the American sports betting market, its partnership with several retail betting locations means it will undoubtedly be a player in Maryland's market no matter what.
- BetRivers: Originally a land-based casino operator in Illinois, BetRivers has expanded its mobile operation into several other states. Marylanders should look or their generous sign-up bonus.
- Unibet: It has proven its chops both in the European market as well as in four other states. It doesn't offer the same breadth and depth of events to bet on but has an above-average in-game betting platform.
One unusual feature of legal sports betting in Maryland is an intense focus on equality and diversity. The legal text offers license priority to minority-owned businesses. You can expect the same high-quality mobile betting experience from these providers, but it might carry a label or brand you wouldn't expect. We'll keep Marylanders informed as the Maryland sports betting situation evolves.
How We Pick the Best MD Sports Betting Sites
We have high standards when it comes to assessing the best options for sports betting in Maryland, and our favorites all have similar characteristics. We've got a staff of experts who know what makes for a good sports betting experience for casual bettors, serious bettors and everyone in-between. Here's what we look for:
Whether you do your legal sports betting online or in person, you're trusting strangers with your money. We expect sportsbooks to be established companies with a history of financial and operational health. In addition, it's important that your bookmaker treats data security as their highest priority. All legal and licensed MD sports betting sites will use the latest encryption technology to protect your data.
Because the sports betting industry is new to much of the United States, the states that have legalized betting are still getting the hang of regulations and standards. We look for sportsbooks that have a good reputation for treating bettors fairly and responsively in all situations and in other states where they operate. Your sportsbook should publish clear policies for things like bet cancellation and dispute resolution.
Mostly a concern for online bettors, it should be easy to add and withdraw money to your account. That means there should be multiple options, minimal fees and the timelines the operator publishes should be honored. For bettors who like to bet on and at retail establishments, there should be minimal red tape involved in opening accounts and connecting them across different betting channels.
Sportsbooks work hard to lure bettors with freebies, bonuses and perks of all shapes and sizes. It might surprise you, but these offers can give you a real edge, whether you're just learning the ropes or if you're an experienced bettor. See the section below for more detail on sportsbook bonuses, but we look for lucrative offers with attainable playthrough requirements.
The Overall Sports Betting Experience
A good online betting experience means a high-performing, well-organized site, with easy navigation, great customer service and betting opportunities galore. We look for operators that provide the complete package.
Other Evaluation Factors for Online Bookmakers
Reputation: We listen to you, and we monitor what people are saying about bookmakers. If we recognize a trend - positive or negative - with one of Maryland's online bookmakers, we'll make sure you know about it.
Accessibility: You should be able to access the betting menu and make your bets in the way you want to. That means high-performing web and mobile apps that are compatible with the most popular browsers and operating systems.
Reliability: There should be no question that when you're ready to place a sports bet on a Maryland sports betting site, the web platform or mobile app is ready for you. All scheduled outages should be communicated to users, and unscheduled outages should be rare and treated as an all-hands-on-deck emergency by the company.
Payment and Withdrawal Options: The best online bookmakers help you connect your bank account to your sports betting account so deposits and withdrawals flow nearly instantaneously. In addition, there should be a variety of bookmaker deposit options for moving money in and out of your account, from slow, simple, and free, to faster (and nearly free).
Variety of Bets: While state law will dictate broad limitations on what sports bettors can wager on, the best sportsbooks will offer a betting menu that is both wide and deep. That means you can bet on the most popular worldwide sports and special events, and have a variety of betting options within a given contest. That translates to a long list of derivatives, team props and player props.
Better Odds: Odds will vary between establishments but should ensure that your bookmaker's fees aren't unreasonably high on the sport you like to bet the most. It's important to know how odds work so that you understand how to check the odds! A 2-way parlay of -110 bets should always pay about +260. Coin-flip bets (like point spreads and totals) should be offered at -110 on both sides the majority of the time.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Maryland?
Maryland's sports betting law was passed by the state legislature on April 12, 2021. While the gaming commission has not finalized all the rules that will go into effect this fall when bookmakers hope to start accepting wagers, we expect legal sports betting in Maryland to include the most common bets for college and pro leagues across the world. Unlike states such as Illinois and New Jersey, Maryland bettors will be able to place bets on amateur Maryland sports. In-state colleges like the University of Maryland and Coppin State will be on the menu. (I'll bet you didn't know Coppin State was in Maryland, did you?)
Benefits of Legal Online Sports Betting in MD
If you're a bettor in Maryland, be patient. Legal online sports betting operators will hopefully be open in time for either this NFL season or most certainly the next one, and they'll likely roll out the red carpet for bettors in the form of terrific welcome bonuses and perks. If you just can't wait, drive to a neighboring state, or try Daily Fantasy Sports, which are perfectly legal in Maryland.
We never recommend betting with an offshore site, as they are not licensed and regulated in the United States. That means you don't get the same legal protections as you would with a legal, US sportsbook. Betting with an offshore bookmaker won't prompt the FBI to put a grainy photo of you up in the post office, but because they are not legal in the US, critical tasks like withdrawing funds, getting customer support or resolving disputes can become dicey.
How are MD Sports Betting Sites Regulated?
All aspects of Maryland's sports betting industry fall to the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, led by a seven-person board appointed by the Governor. The 2021 law created the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (poetically referred to as The SWARC) that will review and issue licenses. From there, other sub-agencies will take care of monitoring Maryland sports betting sites and venues and ensuring compliance with state regulations.
Maryland Land-Based Sportsbooks & Locations
Maryland sports betting law allows land-based casinos to apply for sportsbook licenses. The following section lists the six land-based casinos currently in operation in Maryland. While they all have a designated sports betting partner, none have offered a timeline for operations. Nevertheless, we doubt they'll want to miss out on football season, so look for these venues to offer sports betting from at least kiosks before the end of the year.
Live! Casino has already completed a $12 million addition to its casino to host its sportsbook and sports bar. It's a good bet they will be open for NFL Opening Day (September 6, 2021).
Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, Maryland, is owned by Golden Entertainment, which means its sportsbook partner is William Hill.
Horseshoe CasinoBaltimore announced plans to partner with William Hill and an as-yet-unnamed minority-owned business.
Hollywood CasinoPerryville was recently acquired by Penn National, which offers Barstool branded sportsbook/app.
Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Maryland, has already built out its sportsbook called Sports & Social; its sports betting partner is FanDuel.
Ocean Downs Casino has announced a sports betting partnership with TwinSpires, which boasts an industry-leading racebook as well.
MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, would (obviously) run a BetMGM-branded sportsbook.
Other Retail Sports Betting Venues in Maryland
Maryland Lawmakers also included race tracks and major sports stadiums as eligible Maryland sports betting sites.
FedEx Field, located in Maryland, is the home of the Washington Football Team, who inked a first-of-its-kind deal to make FanDuel the official gaming partner of any NFL team.
M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, has a deal with Caesars-branded sportsbooks. However, because the stadium itself is not owned by the Ravens, we'll have to wait and see what their bookmaking decision is.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Orioles. Like M&T Bank Stadium, Camden Yards is a stone's throw away from the Horseshoe Casino near downtown, so visitors could soon have a trio of in-person Maryland sportsbook options within a half-mile of each other.
Pimlico Race Course - home to the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown - and Laurel Park - Maryland's "other" thoroughbred race track - are both likely Maryland sportsbooks for retail and online sports betting. The tracks' common owner has expressed an intent to seek licenses for the tracks as well as their four associated off-track betting establishments located around Maryland. Timonium Fairgrounds would also be a likely Maryland sports betting location.
Will Retail Bookmakers Offer Mobile Sports Betting Apps?
Because Maryland has made online betting a key component of its betting legislation, every brick-and-mortar sportsbook, stadium and race track will almost certainly have an online sports betting app (possibly branded with a partner's name) that lets you place sports bets online.
How to Sign up and Place a Sports Bet in Maryland
If you're wondering how to bet on sports in Maryland, you'll find it's quite easy to go from sitting on the sidelines to playing the big games. To bet online, first create and fund an account with one of the providers we listed above and follow the steps below.
Create an Account and Profile
You'll need to create credentials and provide standard profile information. In addition, many sports betting operations will require you to verify your age, email address, and/or phone number, and provide security questions. Maryland gambling laws might require additional information.
Now your account is created, you have to fund it and select your bonus offer. There are many ways to add to your balance, from online banking to credit card to Play+, PayNearMe and e-wallets such as PayPal. Be sure to enter the welcome offer promo code to collect your signup bonus.
Get the App
If you are betting via mobile device, you'll be asked to download the sportsbook's app. This will be specific to the Maryland sports betting vendor. If you're betting on the web, just go to the sportsbook's site of the App Store. All sportsbook apps are available for iOS and Android.
Time to Bet
With your newly minted account, it's time to navigate to your favorite event, drill into the specific bets you like, enter the amount you want to risk and go. Once the app or website verifies that you're inside Maryland's state borders, you've got a bet!
Bonuses & Promotions at MD Sports Betting Sites
Every online sportsbook offers some kind of welcome bonus to draw in new customers, and Maryland sports betting will be no different.
One of the most popular is a deposit match, up to 100%. How do these bonuses work? The sportsbook matches your deposit amount with an equal number of bonus dollars. What's the catch? You can't withdraw the bonus funds until you've risked those bonus dollars a set number of times (several sportsbooks have just a 1x wagering requirement, though), sometimes on specific wager types or with minimum odds. Often those bonus funds, which are presented as free bets, are not eligible for withdrawal - just any winnings from those bets.
Other common Maryland sports betting bonuses are risk-free first bets, where you're forgiven if your first bet loses. If your first bet loses, you get an amount equal to that back as a free bet. Again, there may be additional requirements depending on the site.
Some other great offers you'll see are odds boosts that you can earn through more betting in order to create an occasional high-advantage bet for yourself. You can expect Maryland sportsbooks to sprinkle rewards to their customers over time, either by offering a surprise early payout of a futures bet, forgiveness from a heartbreaking last-second loss (known as a 'bad beat'), cashback directly to your account and wacky celebrity tie-in contests where you win more if you bet with the star.
Online sports gambling Maryland-style will no doubt feature similar enticements.
Types of Sports Bets Offered in Maryland
Maryland sportsbooks are expected to offer bets on all the major sports leagues, college and pro, as well as international leagues and even some obscure events like Darts betting and Bowling. You'll be able to place all the favorites: point spread bets, totals bets, moneyline and run-line/puck-line bets. Also authorized are derivative bets (like first half and first quarter bets), futures bets and all manner of prop bets on teams and individuals.
Top Maryland Sports Teams to Bet On
The sports betting law passed by Maryland's legislature in April 2021 was expansive not just in terms of the number of licenses issued, but also with regard to the teams available to bettors. That, plus Maryland's proximity to teams in southeastern Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia make for a varied and nutritious betting diet.
Coach John Harbaugh is a bettors' favorite, having compiled a stellar spread record in preseason games in addition to going 60% over the last four regular-season campaigns. Add in former MVP Lamar Jackson, and Maryland sportsbooks can expect to write a ton of Ravens tickets.
Washington Football Team
They're finally emerging from a dismal decade-plus of football and have one of the most exciting young defenses in the league. If the spread record is an indicator of surpassed expectations, Washington's 60% wins last year means it's on the way up.
If you're in Maryland looking for a local baseball team to cheer for (and bet on) - go no further than the Nats, a year removed from their Cinderella World Series win.
They have plenty of history but bettors might consider looking at a Total bet for these birds. In the first month-plus of 2021, they're 13-5 to the Under when they're playing away from Camden Yards.
Did you know Maryland has nine schools that compete in Division I basketball? In addition to the big ones (University of Maryland and Navy), there's also Coppin State, Loyola University Maryland, Maryland - Baltimore County, Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State, Mount St. Mary's and Towson.
Maryland Sports Betting History
How did sports betting arrive on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay? Here's a quick timeline of how it all came together:
2010: Maryland's first land-based casino, the Hollywood Casino in Perryville, opens.
2018: The Supreme Court of the United States votes to end the partial federal ban on sports betting and allow each state to make its own decision.
2020: Maryland holds a ballot initiative allowing residents to voice their approval or rejection of legalizing sports betting. The measure passes with over 60% of the vote.
2021: The Maryland legislature passes a sports betting legalization bill in April by wide margins and is signed into law by Governor Hogan in May.
Maryland has a long history with horse racing and casino gambling. And like most states that have legalized sports betting, part of the money collected from the new taxes and fees from the new law will contribute to funding responsible gambling education and support. Bettors in Maryland can go to mdgamblinghelp.org for a list of resources. Additionally, every licensed and legal sportsbook makes Responsible Gaming part of its platform, offering robust resources to bettors to help identify if they have a problem and where they can go for help.
Sports Betting Maryland FAQs
When will Online Sports Betting be available in Maryland?
There is no set date yet. However, Maryland's sports betting legislation, passed in April 2021, was created with the goal of making sports betting available by the start of the 2021 football season, with online sports betting likely the following year if not sooner.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Maryland?
Yes. When sports betting debuts in Maryland, bettors will be able to place bets via browser and mobile device.
Will I need to be a Maryland resident to bet online?
No. As with other states, visitors to Maryland will be able to bet on sporting events, too. If you're an online sports bettor, you'll need to be physically within Maryland's borders to make bets.
How will an online sportsbook know my location?
Included in Maryland’s sports betting law is language requiring licensed sportsbooks with an online presence in Maryland to be able to positively confirm a user’s location prior to accepting their bets. That’s normally accomplished by opening your GPS location to the mobile app or installing a geo-tracking module into your browser. You'd be amazed at how accurate the software is. Say you're standing on the isolated beach north of Smith Point, Virginia, and you want to place a bet. No problem! you're in sovereign Maryland territory.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports legal in Maryland?
Yes, Daily Fantasy Sports has been legal in Maryland since the industry began, and all of the major operators serve Maryland customers.
Are Maryland sports betting sites safe?
When you bet with a licensed sportsbook in the United States, you are participating in an activity that is safe, legal, and fun. Maryland, like other states with sports betting, has set up stringent licensing processes to ensure only reputable companies are allowed to book bets. And you will only find licensed and legal Maryland sportsbooks on our recommended list.
What do I need to create an online sports betting account in Maryland?
Anyone can create an account with an online bookmaker operating in Maryland, whether you’re actually in the state at the time or not. You’ll need to follow the standard identification verification processes, set up credentials and other personal information. However, you’ll need to be in Maryland to place a bet. Be prepared to provide your name, email address, date of birth, physical address, last four digits of your SSN and a copy of a government-issued ID.
Do Maryland casinos have sports betting?
Not yet, but they will! Maryland's law specifically gives its six land-based casinos access to sports betting licenses. All six have expressed their intention to open up sports betting operations by the end of 2021.