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Online Gambling in Maryland: an Expert Guide

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Gambling in Maryland

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Our Guide to Online Gambling in Maryland

Maryland gambling laws are strict in defining what constitutes betting and what a gambling device is. Maryland’s legislature also sets down punitive laws when it comes to illegal gambling. Though Maryland law enforcement does not make it a habit to prosecute residents who gamble illegally, its statutes allow for such prosecution. Players need to keep that in mind when playing online in Maryland.

2020's Best Online Gambling Sites for Maryland Players

We’ve listed our favorite casinos, sportsbooks and poker sites accepting players from Maryland below. Pick a site and start playing!

Maryland Online Gambling FAQs

Maryland Online Gambling Laws

Maryland allows several forms of gambling: land-based casinos, racebook betting, charitable bingo, raffles, poker nights, and daily fantasy sports. While sports betting is not currently legal, the Maryland Senate and General Assembly each passed a 2017 bill which stated they would legalize sports betting if federal laws ever were repealed. That is the case, so Maryland sports bettors can expect new laws in 2019 or 2020. The same cannot be said for online poker, though.

Relevant state code: 27-240; BR 11-101 et seq., BR §10-502

Maryland has some of the strictest laws against gambling in the United States. Its anti-gambling laws are very strict, especially on the enforcement side of the equation. Those caught gambling illegally are subject to a $100 fine and 6 months in prison.

Maryland gambling legislation approaches the subject entirely differently than most US states. Instead of providing a definition of gambling, Maryland gambling laws instead prohibit all forms of gambling in one broad swipe. Here’s the key parts of the law.

Section 12-102

a) Prohibited. – A person may not:

(1) bet, wager, or gamble;

Maryland has standard laws when it comes to prohibitions of gaming, but its enforcement is more robust than many US states. For operators, any step along the financial chain can be prosecuted. This includes payment processors, which is why unregulated gaming operators use international offshore payment processors only.

Also, Maryland has an expansive definition of gaming devices. Section 12-103 of Maryland’s gambling laws states it’s illegal to use “any gaming device” for the sake of gambling “money or any other thing or consideration of value.” The section below is the key part of the statute as it defines a gambling device.

Section 12-101(d)

1) “Gaming device” means:

(i) a gaming table, except a billiard table, at which a game of chance is played for money or any other thing or consideration of value; or

(ii) a game or device at which money or any other thing or consideration of value is bet, wagered, or gambled.

Pretty much anything but a billiard table is a gaming device. That potentially could mean desktop computers, smartphones, and tablet computers. Despite the strict laws, Maryland law enforcement officials have not prosecuted players in the past.

DOES MARYLAND HAVE LAND-BASED CASINOS?

Yes, Maryland has 5 brick-and-mortar casinos and 1 racino. Big, famous casinos like the MGM National Harbor, Horseshoe Baltimore, and Maryland Live!

Casino are among the biggest gambling destinations on the eastern seaboard. MGM Resorts (National Harbor) and Caesars Entertainment (Horseshoe) own the first two casinos, while the local Cordish Cos. owns Maryland Live!. Readers in Philadelphia may have heard of Cordish, which is involved in the Stadium Casino Project.

DOES MARYLAND HAVE ANY LEGAL BETTING TRACKS / SHOPS?

Yes, Maryland has one of the most famous horse tracks in the United States: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Pimlico is home to the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown races which dominate coverage of the thoroughbred racing season each year in the United States. Betting on the Preakness is allowed at the course, along with 5 other courses around the state.

DOES MARYLAND ALLOW OFF-TRACK BETTING?

Maryland does not have off-track betting facilities in the state. Maryland is smaller and ringed-in by other states which do have off-track betting, so the legislature prefers bettors drive to the six racetracks and racinos to do their racebook betting.

DOES MARYLAND ALLOW CHARITABLE GAMBLING?

Maryland has charitable gambling, but it is regulated at the county level of government. Twenty-one different Maryland counties allow charitable gambling. Baltimore, Boring, Mechanicsville, Owings, and Solomons each have charitable bingo halls, but bingo is not the most popular form of gambling for nonprofits.

Raffles, card games, and casino nights are major players in Maryland charitable gambling. Poker nights are restricted to card games, wheel of chance-style games, and roulette.

IS SOCIAL GAMING ALLOWED IN MARYLAND?

Social gaming is allowed in Maryland.

In fact, some of the land-based casinos have their own social gaming presence on the Internet. Live! Social Casino is tied to Maryland Live! Casino, is the foremost Maryland social gaming site online. Players must be 21 to play at Live! Social Casino, but otherwise have a full slate of games to play: slots, table games, tournaments, the Loyalty Lounge player rewards program, and even a VIP lounge.

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