Gambling In Maryland Laws


In Maryland however, the law has a very broad definition of gambling. Maryland law simply states that it is illegal to wager, bet or gamble. The law does not define any of the three terms – wager, bet, and gamble – in detail. Gambling laws in Maryland allow multiple forms of regulated betting entertainment to take place, including casino and poker gambling, pari-mutuel wagering on horse races, a state lottery, charitable gaming, and daily fantasy sports contests. 12-101 Definitions: (a) In general.- In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated. (c) Credit.- (1) “ Credit ” means payment by a credit card or promissory note. (2) “ Credit ” includes selling or pledging personal property in exchange for cash or tokens. (d) Gaming device.- (1) “ Gaming device ” means.

  1. Is Gambling Illegal In Maryland
  2. Can You Gamble In Maryland

Maryland can be considered a regional gambling hotspot, especially when it comes to horse racing and tournament poker.

The first races at the Pimlico Race Course were held in the 1740s, and the industry was allowed to operate with no dedicated regulations until 1870. Charitable bingo was legalized in 1952, and in 1973 Maryland residents voted in favor of establishing a state lottery.

Atlantic City-style brick and mortar casinos were approved in 2008, following a statewide referendum. Six venues were built between 2010 and 2016.

Maryland Gambling Law Summary

Maryland defines gambling as “wagering or betting in any manner to receive something of value dependent upon the result of any race, contest, or contingency.” This definition is broad enough to cover internet games. Even worse, the description of a gambling device is also extensive and may arguably be applied to any computer or mobile device used to play real money games over the internet.

At one time, the punishment for engaging in illegal gambling as a player was quite severe, as getting convicted on the associated misdemeanor charge carried a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a hefty fine. In April 2019, Maryland lawmakers updated the regulations – under the new rules, anyone caught placing an unlawful bet could be subjected to a $500-$1,000 citation, depending on the amount of money on the line.

Most gambling-related matters are covered by the Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Title 12, Subtitle 1, Section 1-102 et seq. and Maryland Business Regulations, Title 11, Subtitle 1, Section 11-101 et seq.; Business Regulations, Title 10, Subtitle 5, Section 10-502. The minimum gambling age is 18 for bingo, lottery games, and pari-mutuel betting and 21 for casino-style games.

Land-Based GamblingYesCasinos and race tracks
Online GamblingYesDaily fantasy sports and horse race betting only
Charitable GamingYesBingo only
Minimum Gambling Age18 for pari-mutuel, bingo, and lottery games; 21 for casinos

Online Gambling in Maryland

Section 12 of the Maryland code states that betting, wagering or gambling without a license is illegal within the borders of the state. Unlike the other states, Maryland doesn’t have separate punishments for players and operators. However, the local regulations don’t refer specifically to online gambling and the state has never tried going after people who engage in real money gaming on offshore sites. Since most of those sites accept Maryland residents, many people believe that online play isn’t prohibited by the current regulations. Nevertheless, if you have any doubts about signing up for a specific site, we recommend contacting a local lawyer first as the penalties for breaking the law are rather harsh.

Maryland Casinos

Maryland casinos operate under the oversight of the Maryland Lottery. The venues are located in Hanover (Maryland Live!), Oxon Hill (MGM National Harbor), Baltimore (Horseshoe Casino Baltimore), Perryville (Hollywood Casino Perryville), Berlin (Ocean Downs), and Flintstone (Rocky Gap Casino Resort). All Maryland casinos are allowed to offer slots and traditional table games, such as roulette and blackjack. Also, charity organizations in select counties are permitted to host casino nights and card game nights.

Online gambling is illegal in Maryland, but local businesses are allowed to operate social gaming sites. One example of such a site is Live! Social Casino, which is operated by Maryland Live! and which allows local gambling enthusiasts to play free slots, table games, and tournaments. Just like MyVegas, Live! has a special loyalty program for its most dedicated players.

Maryland Poker

Four out of six Maryland casinos operate their own poker rooms. These casinos are Maryland Live! (52 tables), MGM National Harbor (39 tables), Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (25 tables), and Hollywood Casino Perryville (8 tables). Most of the action revolves around No-Limit Hold ’em, but there is a lot of variety when it comes to tournament play. Also, Maryland Live! is an annual stop on the World Poker Tour. The Old Line State does not have a regulated internet poker market. Playing on offshore sites is illegal. Home poker games were legalized in 2016.

Maryland Sports Betting

Maryland is an important thoroughbred horse racing hotspot and is home to one of the most famous racetracks in the country, the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The Baltimore facility operates its own racebook, as do three other Maryland racetracks: the Rosecroft Raceway (Fort Washington), Laurel Park (Laurel), and the Timonium Race Track (Lutherville-Timonium). Off-track betting is available exclusively over the internet via TwinSpires and XpressBet. Greyhound races are illegal.

Maryland lawmakers are currently working on a sports betting bill, which was introduced by Del. Jason Buckel and Del. Kevin Hornberger. The new legislation would authorize Maryland Lottery to conduct sports betting via horse racing licensees and VLT operators. However, legal experts have indicated that the issue might need to appear on the ballot for a referendum vote before it could take effect.

Maryland Daily Fantasy Sports

Maryland was the first state to regulate paid DFS contests. The relevant bill was passed in 2012, but it took five years for the State Comptroller to implement clear regulations. As it stands, DFS operators are authorized to offer their services to Maryland residents with no registration or individual licensing fees. However, they are required to enforce a maximum deposit limit of $1,000 and are not allowed to offer any college sports contests.

In February 2016, Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. introduced a bill designed to ban all paid-entry DFS companies from the state, but his proposal was never put to a vote.

Maryland Lotteries

Maryland Lottery offers interstate draw games, such as Pick 3/Pick 4, as well as multi-state games, such as Mega Millions and Powerball. The lottery also offers keno and scratchers, as well as Racetrax, which can best be described as simulated horse racing with a keno-like payout structure. Lottery tickets cannot be purchased online, but with 4,400 retailers located across the entire state, all Maryland residents can enjoy easy access to Maryland Lottery’s products and services.

Maryland Bingo

The largest live bingo halls are located in Baltimore (Bingo World), Mechanicsville (ADF Bingo) Boring (The Mason Dixon Bingo Hall), Owings (Optimists Club Bingo), and Solomons (Island Bingo). In addition, residents of Anne Arundel and Calvert can play bingo using electronic instant bingo machines.

Regulated online bingo is not available in Maryland. Playing on offshore sites is illegal even under the new regulations.

Maryland Online Gambling FAQ

What types of gambling are available in Maryland?

Maryland has commercial casinos, pari-mutuel betting, charitable gambling, and a state-controlled lottery. The local gambling industry is currently undergoing a rather rapid expansion, which started in November 2012 with a vote on less restrictive gambling laws and which resulted in the launch of Caesar’s Entertainment’s Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in 2014. The state of Maryland hasn’t regulated online gambling yet, but many experts believe that the state is planning to launch its own iGaming market over the next few years.

What laws cover online gambling in Maryland?

Land-based gambling is covered extensively in Section 12 of the Maryland code. Online gambling, on the other hand, isn’t really regulated, so most people believe that there’s nothing to stop Maryland residents from enjoying their hobby on one of the quality offshore sites. However, we recommend seeking professional legal advice if you have any doubts about joining a specific site.

Is real money online gambling legal in Maryland?

The Maryland law doesn’t list online gambling as an offense. Consequently, some industry experts claim that playing online is both legal and safe. Nevertheless, if you have any doubts about joining a specific site, you should consider consulting a lawyer first just to stay on the safe side.

Which offshore gambling sites accept Maryland residents?

Many high-traffic offshore sites have absolutely no qualms about accepting Maryland residents, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Generally speaking, if you live in Maryland, you should be able to access some of the best casino, poker, and sports betting offers available on the web by joining one of the Bovada sites.

What are the most popular banking options supported by Maryland -facing sites?

Offshore sites don’t support all that many banking options, so most people decide to stick with basic credit card or debit card payments for deposits and wire transfer for payouts.

Does Maryland offer any intrastate online gambling?

No. If one of the sites you visit is pretending to be licensed in Maryland, you’re most probably dealing with a fraud attempt.

Is it likely for Maryland to regulate online gambling?

The local lawmakers are introduced in allowing Maryland-licensed iGaming sites to operate on the local market, but changing the current regulations is going to take some time.

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Way back in the 1800s Maryland and most other states had extremely liberal attitudes towards gambling. In the 1860s, Maryland made its first major foray into the world of gambling when the then Governor of Maryland, Oden Bowie decided to build a race course in Baltimore.

Since the 1950’s gambling has been on the rise across Maryland and now residents can enjoy offshore and domestic options. Efforts have also been made to introduce state based Maryland online gambling, though currently, the only options remain brands located outside of the United States.

General Gambling Laws In Maryland

Gambling In Maryland Laws

Gambling laws in most states specifically state what gambling is and have a very specific definition of what constitutes gambling. In Maryland however, the law has a very broad definition of gambling. Maryland law simply states that it is illegal to wager, bet or gamble. The law does not define any of the three terms – wager, bet, and gamble – in detail.

Another major difference between the gambling laws in Maryland and other states is that in Maryland, the law does not distinguish between those engaged in playing and those engaged in conducting the gambling activity. In fact, playing a gaming device for anything of value is prohibited by Maryland law. Hence even playing poker is a violation of Maryland gambling laws. A deck of cards on a table can be a gaming device under Maryland gambling laws which define a gaming device as essentially anything that is involved or used in a game involving wagering or betting.

Other Maryland Gambling Pages

Maryland’s Position On Social Gambling

There is no special exemption for social gambling. Some counties in the state also have local laws that regulate gambling. Bingo and other limited forms of social gambling are permitted at senior centers in some counties. Violations of the gambling laws is a misdemeanor offense and conviction can result in a jail term ranging from 6 months to one year or a fine between $200 and $1000.

Land Based Gambling In Maryland

The broad definition of gambling does not mean that all forms of gambling are illegal in the State of Maryland. Maryland has licensed casinos as well as a state lottery. The state lottery was started in 1973. In 1996, the state became the first state to offer the Mega Millions lottery.

Today the Maryland lottery offers 6 single state games and two multi-state lotteries – Powerball and Mega Millions. Pari-mutuel wagering and a host of charitable focused gambling are also permitted in the state. It is possible to play online poker and/or online casino games in Maryland without breaking the state’s gambling law.

Laws Concerning Gaming Events In Maryland

A qualified organization can legally conduct a gaming event for its exclusive benefit if no one is benefited financially from the event or receives any proceeds from the event for personal use or benefit. A qualified organization can also offer prizes in the form of money or merchandise at such gaming events using any gaming device.

The definition of a gaming event under Maryland gambling law includes bingo games, carnival, bazaar, raffle, benefit performances and other events at which a gaming device is used. The following organizations are considered as qualified organizations under Maryland law and can legally conduct a gaming event:

  • religious organizations
  • fraternal organizations
  • war veterans’ organizations
  • civic organizations
  • charitable organizations
  • volunteer fire companies
  • organizations specifically authorized to conduct such events

Where Does Maryland Stand On Legal Online Gambling?

So far no law has been passed by Maryland to regulate or specifically prohibit online gambling. Earlier this year, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley vetoed a plan by the state’s Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to introduce online lottery. Maryland is one of the few states to allow telephone wagering on horse races. The state also allows limited-stakes card rooms.

There are currently not any state-based or US-based online gambling options for Maryland residents. However, there are multiple legal, secure and legitimate online gambling sites that are located, licensed and regulated outside of the United States. These sites offer high-quality options including Maryland online casinos and sports betting sites accepting Maryland players. While online poker seems to be the most accepted potential option to be legalized in the US by most states, currently the only Maryland online poker brands remain to be those located and regulated outside of the United States.

Federal Statutes Affecting Maryland Online Gambling Laws

There are no federal laws that regulate online gambling in the United States. In fact, there is no federal law that makes it illegal to participate in online gambling in the United States. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 does not players, PASPA has been repealed and the Federal Wire Act regulates online sports betting to ensure that no interstate betting takes place.

Maryland Online Gambling Laws FAQS

What Are The Consequences For Illegal Gambling In Maryland?

Being arresting and charged with simple gambling will result in a misdemeanor charge that can land you up to 6 months in jail and $1000 dollars in fines. Aggravated gambling in the state of Maryland is a felony charge that carries a much steeper price. These laws are aimed more at illegal operators as opposed to individual bettors.

Is Social Poker Allowed In Maryland?

Yes. Social poker was legalized as part of HB127 in 2016. There is a rule that there can’t be more than $1,000 up for grabs at one time. Whether or not this condition is enforced by the local government is another story, but this is what the law says.

What Forms Of Gambling Are Legal In Maryland?

There are state-licensed casinos in Maine along with a state lottery that was started in the early 70’s. Pari-mutuel and charitable gambling have also been permitted under specific conditions.

What is Pari-Mutuel Gambling?

Literally meaning “mutual stake”, pari-mutuel gambling is a form of wagering that is most commonly used at race tracks all over the world. Sky casino free spins. In this form of wagering all the punters place wagers against each other instead of the house as the casinos do. The pickers of the first three finishers in the races split the winnings according to their bets and the operator merely takes a small percentage.

What is Charitable Gambling?

A common exception made to gambling laws by most states in the United States. In most states and including Maryland, charitable organizations are legally allowed to host gambling related events to raise funds for the social programs and community efforts. In Maryland, an organization that wishes to pursue gambling events to raise funds to non-profit causes must do so at no monetary profit to any individual outside the winnings of the games and under some specific guidelines.

Has The State Examined Online Gambling Legislation?

Maryland representatives have commented on the possibility of domestic online casinos and poker sites. However, the technicalities between the legal and online platform conditions are complex and require some serious delegation.

Has Maryland Passed Sports Betting Legislation?

No. A bill was tabled at the end of the last legislative session that would have legalized some forms of domestic regulated sports wagering. The legislature does not reconvene until January 2019. It is possible that MD lawmakers will approach the topic of legal sports betting once things get going again.

Maryland Gambling Laws

Is Gambling Illegal In Maryland

We have also included a link for our visitors who desire to review the exact laws and statutes surrounding Maryland gambling laws. You can find the laws in their original language here: State of Maryland Gambling Laws.

Can You Gamble In Maryland

**If you are seeking a professional interpretation of any law or statute, we recommend that you contact a lawyer. The same holds true for visitors seeking legal advice. We are online gambling consultants and are not trained in how to interpret laws or provide legal advice. We do not hold any type of law degree or certifications and do not claim to be lawyers.

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