Maryland has a nice bundle of professional and collegiate sports teams within and around its boundaries. From actual in-state squads like the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens to the near-by Washington Wizards, the sports scene is alive and kicking. Maryland has come to embrace some looser gambling laws at least partially because of this—though, mostly, their bettor-friendly rules have more to do with their ability to monitor and derive revenue from almost every kind of wagering.
Maryland Sports Betting Law
The laws for sports betting in Maryland are beyond straightforward. They have plenty of in-casino and on-site options like poker and horse racing. They're sticklers for dog racing and social gambling, but they do permit daily fantasy sports wagering. And like most other states, they don't have specific literature decrying or endorsing participation in online gambling.
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Loads of Casino Options
Six casinos doesn't seem like a lot, but for Maryland, it absolutely is.
Though they're more heavily populated than some of the nation's biggest states, they're not a large region overall; this is one of the smallest locales, geographically, in the U.S. That they have six different locations, all of which have been opened after 2009, is actually impressive.
One oddity: Not one of these establishments is tribal-owned and -operated.
They're all run by big-time corporations. This no doubt has to do with the absence of federally recognized tribes in the area, but Maryland has also rejected requests for such distinctions in the past, a somewhat controversial decision given how many conglomerate-esque gambling spots are now functioning within the state.
Limited Social Gambling Options
Social gambling in Maryland is limited almost solely to charitable options.
No, the state won't be raiding your weekly poker game at Joe Schmoe's place. But those large football pools you may run at work? Or those tournament-style card games you attend at someone's house you might think are innocent? Those are considered illegal.
As a rule of thumb, restrict your social gambling to smaller-scale games and events. That's the best way to protect yourself against doing something that, per letter of the law, is strictly prohibited.
Daily Fantasy Sports are Legal
Maryland is one of 14 states that have explicitly allowed daily fantasy sports companies like FanDuel and Draft Kings to operate within its limits. This is a slightly counterintuitive position, considering how stringent Maryland can be on the social-gambling front. Alas, the local government enjoys nice streams of revenue from daily fantasy sports. Similar to the recent wave of casinos, they're not about to forfeit these opportunities to turn lucrative profits.
Maryland Monitors Gambling Like a Hawk
Speaking of the government, Maryland's state branches do a thorough job monitoring the revenue reports from casinos, daily fantasy sports and any other legalized forms of gambling—that includes running bingo organizations. Financial reports from casinos specifically must be forked over once a month. That's how serious Maryland is about getting a piece of the gambling pie.
This doesn't mean you should completely fear using online sportsbooks. Maryland doesn't have a means of profiting off those bets you place, but they have not concretely outlawed them either. This is still a wager-at-your-own-risk situation, but so long as you're not depositing and withdrawing large amounts that stand to be flagged by your bank, you should be fine.
Maryland Gambling Law Overview
Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren't allowed in Maryland at this time.
- Casino Gambling: Legal
- Tribal Gambling: Legal (but there are no recognized tribes at the moment)
- Poker: Legal
- Horse-Race Betting: Legal
- Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
- Lottery: Legal
- Daily Fantasy Betting: Legal
- Social Gambling: Not legal (daily fantasy sports are still okay, though)
- Charitable Gambling: Legal
- Online Gambling: Not specified
Maryland Sports Teams
Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
Many don't realize just how young the Baltimore Ravens franchise remains. They didn't enter the NFL until 1996, a factoid often lost in the longstanding tenure of the neighboring Washington Redskins of the D.C. area.
The Ravens have nonetheless won over a majority of the state during that time. They have secured two Super Bowl victories through their 20-year existence, in 2000 and 2012, and made playoff appearances, on average, every other year.
Baltimore is rebuilding at the moment...sort of. They wrapped the 2015 season 5-11 and then went 8-8 in 2016, missing the playoffs in both campaigns. Unlike many other squads, however, they have a viable franchise quarterback in Joe Flacco under center. He is getting up there in years but still in his prime, which should be the Ravens' ticket to a semi-quick return to the postseason.
Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
The Baltimore Orioles are technically one of baseball's oldest franchises. They've been operating out of Maryland since 1954, but their organizational history dates back to 1901, when they were the Milwaukee Brewers for a year, then became the St. Louis Browns between 1902 and 1953.
It's not unfair to also say the Orioles are one of MLB's least successful franchises. Their 115-plus year history has included fewer than 15 playoff berths. The good news: They have three World Series titles, and they've made a playoff appearance in three of the past five years.
Washington Wizards (NBA)
The Washington Wizards, initially the Washington Bullets, continue to climb Maryland's ladder of popular sports teams. They will never take down the Ravens, because the NFL is a Goliath, but there's a case to be made that they're the second-most significant franchise in the area.
Thank John Wall for this uptick in interest. He is one of the best point guards in the NBA and has carried the Wizards to playoff berths in three of the last four years following the team's somewhat-extended dalliance with irrelevance in the Eastern Conference.
In the coming years, Wall and the rest of the crew will be tasked with staving off complacency. They don't have the financial means to retool after re-signing Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter, nor do they have the expendable trade assets to pull off a blockbuster swap. Fans needn't worry, though. The Eastern Conference remains bad enough that the Wizards should dramatically improve their chances of sniffing the Conference Finals and NBA Finals simply by staying healthy and together.
Maryland's Biggest Sporting Event of the Year
The Preakness is an all-thoroughbred horse race that takes place at the Pimlico Race Course on the third Saturday of each and every May. It will enter its 143rd year of existence in 2018 and ranks as the second-most popular horse race in the United States, trailing only the Kentucky Derby.