Online Gambling Regulations in Maryland



Maryland, as a whole, has been fairly liberal on the issue of gambling, at least since traditional casinos were allowed in the state. There are no tribal casinos in Maryland, but it’s not because of the state’s restrictive policies but rather the lack of tribes that would try to open such an institution. The state of Maryland is quite peculiar regarding charity gambling: by and large, they are not considered “legal,” but rather “not illegal” from the state’s point of view. The regulation of charity gambling and its conduct is left to the discretion of cities and counties. In the case of online casinos, with online slots like at, Maryland is still a bit behind and considers this gambling type illegal. But let’s take a better look at online gambling regulations there. 

Given this legal backdrop, it’s crucial for residents to understand the implications of engaging with unregulated or illegal online gambling sites. These platforms often operate outside legal boundaries, and involvement with them can lead to serious legal consequences. Engaging in activities on such sites, even unknowingly, can implicate individuals in illegal activities, given that these platforms are frequently mired in fraud and scams. The severity of the legal risks involved is not to be underestimated. Potential legal repercussions extend beyond fines and can lead to imprisonment, disrupting lives and underscoring the importance of adhering to state laws regarding gambling. For those affected, understanding the process and staying informed about incarceration status can be helpful.
As we delve deeper into the nuances of Maryland’s stance on online gambling, it becomes evident that the state’s caution is rooted in a desire to protect its residents from these very risks. While online gambling is not currently legalized or regulated in the state, Maryland’s approach reflects a balance between liberal gambling policies and the need for legal and consumer protection.

The Legality of Online Gambling in Maryland

Online gambling is not currently legalized or regulated in the state of Maryland. While many states are joining legislative efforts for sports betting and online gambling, the state of Maryland, at the moment, does not seem to be interested in promoting online gambling at all. When several other states pass laws, Maryland will also join this movement. Although generally considered one of the most gambling-friendly states in Maryland, it has always lagged behind the more progressive ones.

Sports Betting in Maryland

Several forms of online gambling — including online sports betting, horse racing wagering, and daily fantasy sports — are all legal in the state. Betting apps went live in November 2022. Maryland online casinos, however, are still not permitted.

Currently, Maryland law suggests that playing/owning a “gaming device” that the state has not authorized is a crime, with a possible penalty of up to two years in prison. Therefore, in this scenario, we are forced to assume that the computer or phone is a gaming device.

Maryland hosts the Preakness Stakes, one of only three tournaments a Thoroughbred horse must win to claim the Triple Crown title. Historically, Maryland has been considered the center of equestrian sports. But dog racing has been banned here for a long time. The nearest state where dog racing is held – West Virginia; they can be found at the Wheeling Island complex or the Mardi Gras Resort.

Lottery in Maryland

As in most states, in Maryland, a significant portion of gambling is done by the state lottery. Not surprisingly, Maryland participates in the federal Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries. Maryland is one of only three states to have sold the winning ticket for the then-largest lottery jackpot in history, although it is currently sixth on the list.

Maryland Lottery sales in the fiscal year 2017 were about $1.935 billion (ninth largest in the nation), of which $1.197 billion (61.86% overall) was paid out to players as winnings. Both of these figures were state records for the current year. However, Maryland had an estimated 6.025 million residents in 2017, so the lottery lost about $122.49 per resident.

Legality Questions

As for sports betting, it’s not legal in Maryland at the moment, largely due to the Senate and House of Representatives failing to reach an agreement in 2018 on whether racetracks can also offer sports betting. One side advocated for their permission in the casino and on the tracks, and the other – only in the casino.

You may not know about it, but the old 1972 bill could actually allow the state lottery department to administer legalized and regulated sports betting entirely independent of casinos and racetracks. This option is under consideration.

If this attempt fails, a voter referendum (electoral measure) will decide the future of sports betting in Maryland. However, given that this type of betting is already allowed in neighboring states (West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and nearby New Jersey), Maryland will probably not delay resolving this issue. 

The only arrests for illegal gambling that we know of were related to unlawful sports betting and so-called “Internet cafes” and were aimed primarily at their organizers. Even if you choose to play at an online casino, how can anyone know what you are doing in your own home?

Online casino operators doing business in Maryland face extremely harsh sanctions. However, such operators are usually located offshore, out of the reach of Maryland authorities.


Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor