Tracing The Online Gambling History in Maryland

Eye On Annapolis
Tracing The Online Gambling History in Maryland
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Online gambling has an interesting history in the US. Internationally, this industry got birthed in 1994, when the small Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda decided to become the world’s first territory that would allow companies to offer gambling services over the World Wide Web. It did so via its Free Trade and Processing Act, allowing entities to establish internet gaming/betting businesses in the country that would accept gamblers from around the globe. However, in the US, online casino gaming was illegal because of theInterstate Wire Act of 1961 that Robert Kenedy championed to curb organized crime operations, while sports betting had a federal ban imposed on it thanks to PASPA. The latter only got allowed in Nevada until 2018.

In May 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, lifting the federal ban on sports betting and permitting each US state to pass its regulations. One month after this legislative move, Delaware became the first state to take advantage of this law’s repeal. And quickly after it, West Virginia, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas began following suit.

Today, sports betting apps are legal in Maryland, but the same does not apply to sites and mobile software that facilitates casino gambling. Below, we explore the road to advancing betting legislation over the Internet in Little America, noting how the current laws got passed and what to expect soon.

A Brief History of Gambling in Maryland

Despite what some may think, since the Free State legalized gambling establishments slightly later than some other US states (in 2008), historically, Maryland has not shown a dramatic aversion towards gambling. Lottery games were the first documented form of organized betting activities in the land famous for its blue crabs.

Though, it was not until 1973 that the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency was founded as an independent agency of the state’s government that now oversees them. That said, charitable bingo draws in Maryland have gotten legally operated from 1952 onwards. And horse racing has been here since 1870, with the Maryland Racing Agency regulating this activity since 1920.

What Types of Online Gambling are Legal in Maryland?

Retail sports betting went live in Maryland in 2021, and the online variety became available in late 2022. Aside from Maryland residents having the option of placing wagers on sporting events in person and remotely, they can also participate in off-track horse race betting. They can taste pari-mutuel action by partaking in this practice through the following three companies. TwinSpires, XpressBet, and TVG.

Note that daily fantasy sports are also available in the state. Maryland officials adopted sections of language from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that accepts this activity as exempted from the bans imposed by this law. That came after the state repealed fantasy sports legislation in 2016. Today, the top brands in this sphere, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, which also get listed at sites that supplyreviews of casinos that offer real money, deliver their services to Marylanders.

The Road to Legalizing Retail Sports Betting in Maryland

After the fall of PASPA, many Maryland politicians expressed a desire for the state to hop on the train that neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia were on. By October 2020, twenty-two US states had passed sports betting laws, and another twenty approved them through the legislative process. In Maryland, that happened through Question 2, also known as the Sports Betting Expansion Measure, which was approved in November 2020. It received 67% Yes votes, meaning over 1.9 million state residents approved it, while 934.950 (32.93%) voted against it.

Question 2 permitted in-person sports wagering at licensed venues. Nevertheless, it only gradually allowed sportsbooks to run in the state. That took a while to happen. Larry Hogan, Maryland’s governor, signed House Bill 940 into law in April 2021, bringing this into reality. This bill ironed out the specifics of the previous law and allowed the state to give out its first retail sports betting license in November of that year. Maryland’s initial sportsbook opened its door the following month.

After this move, the Maryland Lottery announced that it raised in revenues from gambling in the first fiscal year after this activity got allowed in the home to Artscape.

How Did Maryland Online Sports Betting Came to Be?

That became a reality in November 2022, when Gov. Larry Hogan held a press conference, stating that the state’s licensed operators could take bets on Thanksgiving Day NFL action and the 2022 World Cup.

For more than two years, state residents clamored for online sports wagering, and the 2021 legislation allowed for seventeen retail licensees and created sixty mobile competitive bids. Though the state’s specially appointed committee, SWARC, or the Sports Wagering Applications Review Commission, was supposed to guide the online application and regulation process, this body became a roadblock to the process instead of assisting it. And after a series of postponed meetings and required studies that caused the entire procedure to stagnate, something that drew anger fromGovernor Hogan, the SWARC finally determined its licensing requirements.

What Is the Situation with Online Casinos in Maryland?

They are not yet legal. Only six US states allow remote gaming fun to their citizens. They are Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Michigan.

Senator Ron Watson tried to push through Bill 267. That legislation would have legalized online casinos in Maryland through a voter referendum. Unfortunately, it failed to pass into the House, despite Watson’s plea that this entertainment form would generate over $100 million in annual tax revenues.


What Forms of Online Gambling Are Legal in Maryland?

Only sports betting and off-track horse wagering get permitted.

When Did Online Sportsbooks Get Allowed?

In November 2022.

Are Online Casinos Legal in Maryland?

No. But residents can use offshore platforms.

To Sum Up

There is unquestionable enthusiasm for online gambling in the first state, despite bureaucracy unjustifiably slowing things down. Internet sports wagering is not live in Maryland, though it will likely take a few years before casino gaming and poker become available to Marylanders.