Maryland Legal Online Gambling Guide
Maryland Quick Info
Population: 5.976 Million
State Motto: Strong deeds, gentle words
Land Casinos: 6
Land Poker Rooms: 4
Legal Gambling Age: 21
Maryland’s gambling laws have been evolving slowly since the early 70’s when the state lottery was established. The last 8 years have seen significant changes take concerning regulated gambling in the Old Line State. While most of the recent progress has been rather straightforward, the state had an on again off again relationship with slots in the late 50’s and early 60’s. As the dust settles from recent expansion, it is accurate to say that Maryland has developed a thriving gambling industry that provides a high quality range of options for enjoying responsible gambling entertainment.
This guide exists to provide Maryland residents and visitors with insight into the available options for enjoying legally sanctioned online and offline betting action. We cover the legalities concerning gambling in MD, and break down the information concerning the state’s gambling laws into easy to understand segments. We are providing this guide as informational only. We are not licensed attorneys and are not qualified to provide professional legal advice or services. We are experienced gambling professionals and are well versed on navigating the legal betting landscape in the United States. Below you will find information on specific gambling laws in Maryland, what penalties are involved for violating these laws, and how to legally access online gambling opportunities without violating state and federal laws. We also provide recommendations for accessing the best legally sanctioned online gambling sites that accept players from Maryland.
Maryland’s laws and statutes are known as the Unannotated Code of Maryland and Rules . A simple search of gambling will take you straight to all laws relevant to betting activities. There are multiple legal gambling venues regulated by the state, including casino gambling, lottery, poker, pari-mutuel wagering and charitable gaming. The first regulated gambling in Maryland emerged as lottery grants. The purpose of the grants was to fund churches and public services. Thousands of private lotteries operated through 1834 when the state voted to cease new licenses. In 1920 the Horse Racing Oversight Board was established to oversee pari-mutuel racing and betting.
1943 began the state’s roller coaster ride with slot machines. During 1945, slot machines were legalized for some of the counties in the state. Poor oversight and management of the slots industry resulted in a decline in the area and in 1963, a law was passed to cease license renewals for slot machines, with the last license expiring in 1968. Proponents of slots fought hard to keep them alive, however ultimately failed after several court rulings that attempted to intervene and stop the ban from taking place. Slot machines were effectively phased out. They would remain as illegal gambling devices until 2008 when restrictions began loosening concerning games and the state’s citizens voted to allow slot machines once again through an amendment to the constitution known as Question 2 in the 2008 election cycle. Further casino gaming expansion took place in 2012 when the voters once again voted to expand options to include specific table games. Known as Question 7 on the ballot, this law would expand the number of slots licenses from 5 to 6, would increase the number of slot machines allowed at each licensed location, and would add specific table games to the list of permitted games. Games using dice, such as craps, are not included in legal table games.
One of the first lotteries in the country, Maryland legalized a state lottery in 1972. Senate Bill 213 was passed through a vote by the state’s citizens in 1972, known as Question 2 on the ballot. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency was established in 1973 and is responsible for regulating lottery and casino gambling in Maryland. They offer state lottery drawing games, scratch-off games, subscriptions and interstate games. Online purchase of lottery tickets is not yet legal.
1920 saw the legalization of pari-mutuel racing and betting in Maryland. There are several quality racetracks in the state offering thoroughbred and harness racing, as well as inter-track and satellite simulcast betting. Pimlico Race Course in Maryland is one of the most prestigious in the nation, and hosts the annual Preakness Stakes which is the middle race during the Triple Crown Racing Series. In 2014 a Senate Bill 988 was passed to extend the Maryland Horse Racing Act expiration through to 2024. Several offtrack betting options are available through retail locations. Placing bets on horse races by phone is legal in Maryland.
Online Gambling Laws In Maryland
As far as state licensed online gambling is concerned, Maryland does not offer any options for residents or visitors to the state. Governor O’Malley vetoed an effort made by the Lottery and Gaming Commission to legalize online lottery ticket purchases. State leaders have expressed a ‘watch and see what happens’ stance by the state, meaning that they want to see how other states handle initiating a regulated online gambling infrastructure and platform and how successful they are prior to taking any steps to approve or achieve this in Maryland. This leaves a glimmer of hope for MD residents hoping to see state licensed online gambling emerge in their region.
It is important to note that while MD does not offer any state regulated online gambling options yet, there are no state or federal laws which makes online gambling illegal in the state. The online gambling sites recommended in this guide are all legally licensed and subject to strict regulatory oversight. They also offer a high quality betting experience and secure protection for players and their sensitive information.
Penalties for Violating Maryland’s Gambling Laws
Maryland’s gambling laws do not make exceptions for social gambling or for players vs operators. Violating the state’s gambling laws results in a misdemeanor charge, with penalties ranging from $200 to $1000 in fines and and/or a jail sentence of up to one year. The state takes gambling law violations seriously and has been known to follow through with prosecuting those breaking these laws. They are particularly strict when it comes to underage gambling situations.
Forms of Gambling That Are Currently Legal in Maryland
Casino Gambling – There are multiple regulated commercial casinos in Maryland offering slot machines and table games. There are not any tribal casinos in Maryland. Games played with dice are not permitted in casinos, such as craps. Also prohibited are thimbles and little joker games. Legal USA Online casinos are available throughoffshore internet sites that are licensed, regulated and located outside of the United States.
Poker – Live poker is available to players through the card rooms located at the state’s commercial casinos. Maryland hosts some impressive poker tournaments, including a $1 million tournament each year. Legal Online poker is accessible to Maryland players through legitimately licensed and regulated online poker sites located offshore. You will find a list of recommended online poker sites accepting players from Maryland further down this page.
Sports Betting – sports betting is not legal in Maryland due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and the Federal Wire Act, both of which prohibit state licensed sportsbook gambling for all state outside of the list of 4 exempted regions, including Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware. Maryland residents seeking legal bookmaker services can access one of the recommended legally licensed online sportsbooks that are located and regulated outside of the US.
Pari-mutuel Wagering – Betting on horse races at local racetracks and on satellite simulcast races is legal in Maryland. Bets can be placed at the tracks, by phone or at off track betting outlets. Residents seeking an expanded range of pari-mutuel wagering options can visit one of the recommend online sportsbooks in this guide. They are all legally licensed and regulated, and the ones we’ve listed include an impressive racebook for pari-mutuel wagering. And since horse wagering is legal across the board in the US, we recommend players checking out our legal US online horse betting guide for all types of interesting content for horse racing fans.
Bingo – Bingo games for real money are legal in Maryland through charitable gaming events. Advanced licensed is required. In addition, there are several licensed US friendly online bingo sites that are regulated offshore that accept players from Maryland.
Lottery – The state of Maryland offers a variety of state draw games, scratch-off ticket games and interstate lottery games. While online ticket purchases were vetoed by the Governor, a significant number of retail outlet locations throughout the state offer lottery ticket purchase options. Residents may also play several interstate lottery games such as Mega Millions. Online lottery agents provide access to online lottery ticket purchases for various state lotteries, multi-state lotteries and international lottery games. It is not a violation of state or federal law to participate in online lottery ticket purchases at licensed and regulated legal online lottery agents such as the ones we recommend on this website.
Will Maryland Adopt Online Gambling Options Like Other States?
With the Governor’s recent veto of efforts to legalize online lottery ticket purchases, it is clear that they are not quite ready to move forward with online gambling of any kind. However, comments have been made by state leaders to imply that they are simply watching and waiting to see how other states fare with their online gambling initiatives. The potential revenue does entice the state’s government to at least consider the possibility. We are fairly confident it will eventually emerge in Maryland, the question is simply when.
A lot of gambling sites don't accept players from Maryland. This is not the case with Betonline however, they still welcome all MD players with open arms. And the fact that they are legitimately licensed and are one of the most reputable names in the gaming community should give players peace of mind in knowing that they are dealing with a reputable site that will always pay winners accordingly.
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Maryland residents who are at least 18 years of age can legally participate in pari-mutuel wagering and charitable gaming such as bingo and raffles. Players of casino games must be at least 21 years of age to legally participate. Violation of the state’s legal gambling age is taken very seriously and is enforced.
State regulated online casinos are not legal in Maryland. The DOJ has clarified states’ rights on this matter, declaring that each state can determine whether or not they want to legalize online gambling for their residents. So far, Maryland has not moved forward with this type of gambling entertainment. However, it is not illegal for Maryland residents to engage in online casino gambling at destinations that are legally licensed and regulated by offshore governing jurisdictions that have already legalized online gambling for their respective region. The online casinos we recommend in this guide fall into this category, and have been vetted by our team of analysts to ensure they are legitimately licensed, are subject to strict regulatory oversight, and possess legitimate compliance certifications for third party auditing and fair gaming practices.
At this time there are not any state regulated online poker sites available to players. Maryland residents can legally access licensed and regulated online poker sites located offshore. As long as the online poker room you visit is legally licensed, subject to legitimate regulatory oversight and is located outside of the United States, then playing games for real money does not violate state or federal law. Where players can get into trouble is by becoming involved with unregulated and unlicensed gambling businesses that are not operating legitimately within the industry. This is actually easier to do than you might think with savvy gambling site operators who use clever web design to mimic licensed destinations. This is one of the reasons relying on professional input is a good idea when selecting your online poker site of choice.
From a state regulated standpoint, online sports betting is not legal. This will not change unless several federal laws are either rescinded or modified extensively, which is not likely. In the mean time, there are some legally licensed online sportsbooks that are regulated and located offshore. Because these destinations are located within a governing jurisdiction that has already legalized online sportsbook gambling, they can legally offer their betting services to players around the world, including those in Maryland. The prohibitions in force from PASPA and the Federal Wire Act do not impact those sportsbooks not operating within the United States. Therefore, residents in Maryland who engage in licensed offshore sports betting are not violating any state or federal laws.
Pari-mutuel wagering is one of the regulated forms of gambling in Maryland. However, the state has not approved online wagering from a state based racetrack or off track betting location. While state regulated online horse betting may not be legal, Maryland residents do have access to betting on horse races legally. Offshore online racebooks that are licensed and regulated outside of the United States are able to legitimately offer their betting services to MD residents because they have legalized online betting within their respective territories. This means that engaging in legally licensed online pari-mutuel wagering does not violate state or federal laws.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Agency did attempt to establish online lottery ticket purchasing in the state, however Governor O’Malley vetoed the measure. This being the case, Maryland residents are not able to buy lottery tickets online through a state licensed lottery agent of any kind. There are multiple offshore lottery agents that are legally licensed and regulated and are operating legitimately within the industry. The agents that accept players from the Untied States are listed in the Lottery section of this website.
Regardless of the fact that your winnings would be coming from offshore businesses, you will still need to report all required income categories according to applicable federal and state tax laws. Maryland does collect a state income tax, which may include income from gambling winnings. We recommend that you contact a tax professional in Maryland to obtain clarification on the income reporting requirements specific to Maryland’s laws.
It is not a violation of Maryland’s state gambling laws or US federal laws to participate in online gambling that is legally licensed, regulated and located offshore. Maryland does not have any laws in place that prohibit their residents form engaging in this type of gambling entertainment. Maryland’s laws have not legalized state regulated online gambling yet, but do not expressly outlaw online gambling. So to answer the question, no, you will not get arrested for gambling online in Maryland. This is subject to change should Maryland modify their gambling laws to specifically prohibit online gambling at offshore gambling sites, however it would be quite unenforceable should they attempt to do so.
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