Maryland laws are somewhat permissive when it comes to land-based real money gaming. The available regulated gambling options include slots and other classic casino games, pari-mutuel wagering, charity gaming events and, last but not least, state-controlled lottery games.
Maryland doesn’t have any tribal casinos, so the aforementioned casino games are offered by commercial gambling venues. Even though recreational gambling is on the rise in Old Line State the local lawmakers haven’t passed any iGaming-friendly regulations so far.
How to Gamble Online for Real Money in Maryland
Since its inception as one of the 13 original colonies, Maryland has been highly receptive to gambling. In 1791, church lotteries were commonly used to create gaming revenue for infrastructure and other community needs.
From the 1830’s to the 1940’s, Maryland went through a stint where all forms of gambling was illegal. Since then, Maryland has grown into one of the most gambling-friendly regions in the United States. While sports betting is not currently legal, there is a high chance of it being legalized in 2019.
The relevant sections of the Code don’t refer directly to internet gambling, so it’s impossible to determine whether playing on offshore sites is unregulated or prohibited. In practice, the local authorities have never tried pressing illegal gambling charges against online gamblers, so this issue has never been tackled by a Maryland court. In the end, countless Maryland residents are using US-facing iGaming platforms on a daily basis without facing any legal consequences.
The qualities that you should be looking for depend on the forms of gambling that you’re interested in. An avid poker player should focus on finding the site that attracts a lot of traffic, as this guarantees that cash games will run smooth and that the tournaments will have satisfying guaranteed prize pools.
A casino enthusiast, on the other hand, should focus on finding a site that combines good bonuses with a broad game selection. Finally, a sports bettor should look for sites that offer good prices while simultaneously covering a lot of markets and offering extensive live in-play betting options.
Maryland Casino Games
One by one, different types of traditional table games were legalized – by 2012, most table games were allowed. All types of slot machines and video poker are also legal in Maryland. As a result, players do not need to seek offshore casinos unless they prefer them.
The only games of chance players are prohibited from gambling on can be found in section 12-103 of Maryland’s criminal law, which states that the following games are illegal to gamble on:
- Little Joker
The penalty for gambling on those three games in your home can range from a $100 fine to six months in jail. Fortunately, players may play online craps without fear of penalty.
Gambling is allowed in nearly all establishments. However, section 10-502 of Maryland’s business regulations explicitly bans any gambling on games of chance in an establishment operated by a supplier of motor fuel. In other words, gambling is prohibited at gas stations or any other enterprise run by a motor fuel company in the state of Maryland.
Although billiard is not a traditional casino game, section 12-101 of Maryland’s criminal code explicitly states that billiard tables are not considered gaming devices. This means that citizens may host billiard gambling tournaments in their home without fear of criminal punishment.
The Maryland criminal law code states that citizens may own and operate antique slot machines in their homes as long as the machines were manufactured a minimum of 25 years ago.
Maryland currently hosts six notable casinos:
- Rocky Gap Casino Resort
- Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
- Hollywood Casino Perryville
- Maryland Live!
- MGM National Harbor
- Grand Falls Casino Resort
Maryland Sportsbooks & Betting
House Bill 989 was introduced in February of 2018, and it created a task force focused on the study and implementation of sports betting in Maryland. This eventually led to the creation of sports bill HB 1014, which acted as an expansion of the state law for commercial sports wagering. HB 1014 passed with an overwhelming majority of 124-to-14 but failed to pass through the Maryland Senate. Legislature to legalize sports gambling will not reconvene until January of 2019.
Although sports gambling is still illegal in Maryland, it’s highly likely to be legalized soon. Pressure from citizens and the Maryland State House, as well as the desire for increased state revenue from sports gambling, indicate a positive shift for sports betting legalization.
eSports and fantasy leagues
Maryland doesn’t differentiate between electronic sports (eSports) and traditional sports. As a result, the state handles gambling on eSports the same way it deals with traditional sports gambling – it’s not legal yet, but there’s a big push for it to be legalized soon.
Maryland legalized fantasy league gambling in 2012 with the SB900 bill, which moved regulation of fantasy sports out of the state comptroller office and into the state lottery and gaming commission office. The only notable ban in fantasy league gaming is on fantasy sports kiosks. As a result, companies such as Eagle Strike have been evicted from Maryland.
All types of online fantasy sports are legal and can be accessed by players located in Maryland.
Horse racing and Maryland share a rich history. Section 11-101 of Maryland’s business regulations clearly states that pari-mutuel betting, intertrack betting, and satellite simulcast horse race betting in Maryland are legal. However, gambling on dog racing is prohibited.
- Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore
- Laurel Park, Laurel
- Casino at Ocean Downs, Berlin
- Rosecroft Raceway, Fort Washington
- Maryland State Fair, Timonium
The Pimlico Race Course hosts one of the three annual Triple Crown tracks.
Playing Poker in Maryland
Many of Maryland’s casinos offer live poker. The Maryland Live Casino currently hosts the most extensive collection of live poker tables in the state.
All Maryland online casinos recommended by us feature excellent selections of online poker games as well.
In 1972, an amendment legalizing lotteries was added to the Maryland state constitution. Since then, Maryland has generated over $14 billion in gaming revenue from lotteries alone.
Popular multi-state lotteries – such as Powerball and Mega Millions – and standard in-state lotteries – like Keno and video lotteries – can all be played in Maryland. Players can also choose to play with any online casino which hosts a lottery that abides by Maryland’s regulations.
Lottery winners in Maryland receive 60%, while 30% goes to the state in the form of taxes. The remaining 10% is awarded to the lottery’s operators.
Maryland Bingo Games
Section 12-101 of Maryland’s criminal law code legalizes some of the most popular forms of gaming events, including:
- Bingo games
Although not explicitly stated, games such as pull tabs are also legal in Maryland.
All forms of charitable games defined by section 12-101 are regulated on the county-level. Most (although not all) Maryland counties have authorized Bingo.
Maryland Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
Getting started is easy. All you need to do is sign up for an account, make your first payment, validate your account by submitting a photo or a scan of an ID document and that’s it – you should be ready to go! Keep in mind that most sites don’t offer all that many deposit options due to banking-related restrictions imposed on a federal level.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
You can get your money by placing a payout request using the cashier menu tied to your account. Payout requests usually take some time to process. The default payment method is a bank wire transfer, so, all in all, you’ll have to wait about 2 weeks before you receive your money.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Maryland?
Offshore sites require their Maryland customers to be at least 18 years old. Please note that the legal gambling age for land-based casinos is set at 21 within the borders of the state.
How do I open an account?
You’ll have to submit some basic personal information using a registration form, which should be available on your site. You’ll have to go through an identity check if you want to gamble using real money.
Where can I open my account from?
You don’t have to be physically present in Maryland to set up an offshore gambling account, which means that you can open a new account from anywhere in the United States.
From where can I access Maryland online gambling sites?
Most sites can be accessed from anywhere in the US, but you should keep in mind that this might lead to some rather nasty legal consequences if you don’t follow the local gambling regulations when you travel due to the fact that online gambling is explicitly prohibited in Washington and Utah.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Maryland?
The relevant regulations are listed in Section 12 of Maryland Code.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
Usually, you’ll be required to make a deposit via a standard credit card payment.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
Virtually every offshore site allows you to withdraw via a wire transfer. Other than that, most sites also support withdrawals via a check by courier.
Is my money safe?
Yes, but only if you stick to reputable sites such as the ones listed here. There are many rogue sites that try to scam inexperienced US-based gamblers. We recommend being extra careful whenever you deal with a site that hasn’t already been tested by our experts.
What body regulates gambling in Maryland?
Sources:Maryland Gambling Laws (see full text)
(a) In general.- In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated. ….
(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:
(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.
(2) “Gaming device ” includes a paddle wheel, wheel of fortune, chance book, and bingo.
(e) Gaming event.- “Gaming event” means:
(1) a bingo game;
(2) a carnival;
(3) a bazaar;
(4) a raffle;
(5) a benefit performance; or
(6) any other event at which a gaming device is operated.
(f) Organization.- “Organization” includes:
(1) a fraternal, religious, civic, patriotic, educational, or charitable organization;
(2) a volunteer fire company, rescue squad, or auxiliary unit;
(3) a veterans’ organization or club;
(4) a bona fide nonprofit organization that is raising money for an exclusively charitable, athletic, or educational purpose; or
(5) any organization that is authorized to conduct a gaming event under Subtitle 1 or 2 of this title or Title 13 of this article.
(h) Token.- “Token” means a poker chip, bingo chip, or other device commonly used instead of money in the playing of a gaming device.
§ 12-102. Betting, wagering, gambling, etc.
(a) Prohibited.- A person may not:
(1) bet, wager, or gamble;
(2) make or sell a book or pool on the result of a race, contest, or contingency;
(3) establish, keep, rent, use, or occupy, or knowingly allow to be established, kept, rented, used, or occupied, all or a part of a building, vessel, or place, on land or water, within the State, for the purpose of: (i) betting, wagering, or gambling; or (ii) making, selling, or buying books or pools on the result of a race, contest, or contingency; or
(4) receive, become the depository of, record, register, or forward, or propose, agree, or pretend to forward, money or any other thing or consideration of value, to be bet, wagered, or gambled on the result of a race, contest, or contingency.
(b) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment for not less than 6 months and not exceeding 1 year or a fine of not less than $200 and not exceeding $1,000 or both.
(1) The provisions of this subsection apply only in Baltimore City.
(2) A person who violates this section may be charged by a citation.
(3) A citation for a violation of this section may be issued to a person by a police officer authorized to make arrests in Baltimore City if there is probable cause to believe that the person is committing or has committed a violation of this section.
(4) A citation issued under this subsection shall contain:
(i) the name and address of the person charged;
(ii) the statute allegedly violated;
(iii) the location, date, and time that the violation occurred;
(iv) the fine or term of imprisonment that may be imposed;
(v) a notice stating that prepayment of a fine is not allowed;
(vi) a notice that the court shall promptly send the person charged a summons to appear for trial; and
(vii) the signature of the police officer issuing the citation.
(5) (i) The police officer who issued the citation shall forward to the appropriate court a copy of the citation.
(ii) The court shall promptly schedule the case for trial and summon the defendant to appear.
(iii) Willful failure of the defendant to respond to the summons is contempt of court.
§ 12-103. Playing certain games.
(a) Prohibited.- For money or any other thing or consideration of value, a person may not play:
(1) the game called “thimbles”;
(2) the game called “little joker”;
(3) dice or the game commonly called “craps”; or
(4) any other gaming device or fraudulent trick.
(b) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment for not less than 6 months and not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding $100 or both.
§ 12-104. Gaming device, or building, vessel, or place for gambling.
(a) Prohibited.- A person may not:
(1) keep a gaming device, or all or a part of a building, vessel, or place, on land or water within the State for the purpose of gambling;
(2) own, rent, or occupy all or a part of a building, vessel, or place and knowingly allow a gaming device to be kept in the building, vessel, or place;
(3) lease or rent all or a part of a building, vessel, or place to be used for the purpose of gambling;
(4) deal at a gaming device or in a building, vessel, or place for gambling;
(5) manage a gaming device or a building, vessel, or place for gambling; or
(6) have an interest in a gaming device or the profits of a gaming device.
(b) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment for not less than 6 months and not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $500 or both.
§ 12-105. Gambling on vessel or building or other structure on or over water within the State.
(a) Construction of section.- This section:
(1) applies notwithstanding the issuance of a license or permit through or by a county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the State; and
(2) does not authorize an act that is otherwise prohibited by law.
(b) Prohibited – Gaming device on or over waters of the State.- A person may not bet, wager, or gamble or keep, conduct, maintain, or operate a gaming device on:
(1) a vessel or a part of a vessel on water within the State, except as provided in § 6-209 of the Transportation Article; or
(2) all or a part of a building or other structure that is built on or over water within the State, if the building or other structure cannot be entered from the shore of the State by a person on foot.
(c) Same – Keeping vessel or structure for gaming device.- To conduct, maintain, or operate a gaming device, a person may not establish, keep, rent, use, or occupy, or knowingly allow to be established, kept, rented, used, or occupied:
(1) a vessel on water within the State; or
(2) a building or other structure that is built on or over water within the State, if the building or other structure cannot be entered from the shore of the State by a person on foot.
(d) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine of not less than $200 and not exceeding $1,000 or both for each violation.
§ 12-106. Raffles.
(a) Charitable organization.-
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subtitle, Subtitle 2 of this title, or Title 13 of this article and except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a bona fide charitable organization in this State may conduct a raffle for the exclusive benefit of the charitable organization if the prize awarded is real property:
(i) to which the charitable organization holds title; or
(ii) for which the charitable organization has the ability to convey title.
(2) A charitable organization may not conduct more than two raffles of real property in a calendar year.
(3) The Secretary of State may adopt regulations governing a raffle of real property by a charitable organization under this subsection.
(b) Political committee or candidate for public office.-
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article and except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a political committee or candidate for public office may conduct a raffle if the prizes awarded are money or merchandise.
(2) (i) The cost of a raffle ticket under this subsection may not exceed $5.
(ii) An individual may not purchase more than $50 worth of tickets.
(3) This subsection does not relieve a political committee or candidate from the reporting and record keeping requirements under the Election Law Article.
§ 12-107. Pari-mutuel betting.
(a) Construction of section.-
(1) The prohibition in subsection (b) of this section applies notwithstanding a license or permit granted through or by a county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of this State.
(2) This section does not apply to:
(i) pari-mutuel betting conducted under the Maryland Horse Racing Act;
(ii) bingo, carnivals, raffles, bazaars, or similar games of entertainment; or
(iii) mechanical or electrical devices, commonly known as slot machines, that are authorized in the State and that require the insertion of a coin or token.
(b) Prohibited.- A person may not conduct or operate with pari-mutuel betting, or with any similar form of betting, wagering, or gambling:
(1) the game, contest, or event commonly known as “jai alai”; or
(2) any other game, contest, or event.
(c) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of not less than $200 and not exceeding $1,000 for each violation.
§ 12-110. Recovery of gambling loss.
(a) In general.- A person who loses money at a gaming device that is prohibited by this subtitle, Subtitle 2 of this title, or Title 13 of this article:
(1) may recover the money as if it were a common debt; and
(2) is a competent witness to prove the loss.
(b) Limitation.- Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a person may not recover money or any other thing that the person won by betting at a gaming device prohibited by this subtitle, Subtitle 2 of this title, or Title 13 of this article.
§ 12-201. “Lottery device” defined.
In this subtitle, “lottery device” means a policy, certificate, or other thing by which a person promises or guarantees that a number, character, ticket, or certificate will, when an event or contingency occurs, entitle the purchaser or holder to receive money, property, or evidence of debt.
§ 12-202. Scope of subtitle.
(a) In general.- Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, this subtitle applies to all lotteries, including those authorized by any other state or foreign country.
(b) Exception.- This subtitle does not apply to the State lottery established under Title 9, Subtitle 1 of the State Government Article.
§ 12-203. Sales and draw of lottery devices.
(a) Prohibited.- A person may not:
(1) hold a lottery in this State; or
(2) sell a lottery device in the State for a lottery drawn in this State or elsewhere.
(b) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 3 months and not exceeding 12 months or a fine of not less than $200 and not exceeding $1,000 or both for each violation.
(c) Civil recovery.- In addition to the penalty provided under subsection (b) of this section, a person who gives money or any other thing to purchase or obtain a lottery device, for each lottery device purchased or obtained, may recover $50 from:
(1) the person to whom the money or other thing was given; or
(2) any person who aided or abetted that person.
§ 12-301. “Slot machine” defined.
In this subtitle:
(1) “slot machine” means a machine, apparatus, or device that:
(i) operates or can be made to operate by inserting, depositing, or placing with another person money, a token, or another object; and
(ii) through the element of chance, the reading of a game of chance, the delivery of a game of chance, or any other outcome unpredictable by the user, awards the user:
1. money, a token, or other object that represents or that can be converted into money; or
2. the right to receive money, a token, or another object that represents and can be converted into money; and
(2) “slot machine” includes:
(i) a machine, apparatus, or device described in item (1) of this section that also sells, delivers, or awards merchandise, money, or some other tangible thing of value; and
(ii) a pinball machine or console machine that pays off in merchandise.
(3) “slot machine” does not include a machine, apparatus, or device that:
(i) awards the user only free additional games or plays;
(ii) awards the user only noncash merchandise or noncash prizes of minimal value;
(iii) dispenses paper pull tab tip jar tickets or paper pull tab instant bingo tickets that must be opened manually by the user provided that the machine, apparatus, or device does not:
1. read the tickets electronically;
2. alert the user to a winning or losing ticket; or
3. tabulate a player’s winnings and losses;
(iv) 1. displays facsimiles of bingo cards that users mark and monitor according to numbers called on the premises by an individual where the user is operating the machine; and
2. does not permit a user to play more than 54 bingo cards at the same time; (v) is used by the State Lottery Commission under Title 9 of the State Government Article; or
(vi) if legislation takes effect authorizing the operation of video lottery terminals, is a video lottery terminal as defined in and licensed under that legislation.
§ 12-302. Possession or operation of slot machine.
(a) Prohibited.- Except as allowed under §§ 12-304 through 12-306 of this subtitle, a person may not locate, possess, keep, or operate a slot machine in the State as an owner, lessor, lessee, licensor, licensee, or in any other capacity.
(b) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine of $1,000 or both for each violation.
§ 12-303. Antique slot machine – Defense.
(a) “Antique slot machine” defined.- In this section, “antique slot machine” means a slot machine that was manufactured at least 25 years before the date on which the machine is seized.
(b) In general.- A person may not be convicted under § 12-302 of this subtitle if the person shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the slot machine:
(1) is an antique slot machine; and
(2) was not operated for gambling purposes while in the person’s possession.
(c) Destruction or alteration prohibited pending determination of status.- If the defense is offered that a seized slot machine is an antique slot machine, the slot machine may not be destroyed or otherwise altered until after a final judicial determination, including review on appeal, that the defense does not apply.
(d) Return of slot machine determined to be antique.- If the defense applies, the person who seized the slot machine shall return the slot machine in accordance with applicable provisions of law for the return of property.[In subsequent sections exceptions are provided for the operation of slot machines in certain Maryland counties by “Eligible Organizations.”
TITLE 13. SAME – LOCAL PROVISIONS
Subtitle 2. Gaming events – Certain counties.
(a) In general.- In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.
(b) Gaming event.- “Gaming event” means a carnival, bazaar, or raffle.
(c) Qualified organization.- “Qualified organization” means:
(1) a volunteer fire company; or
(2) a bona fide:
(i) religious organization;
(ii) fraternal organization;
(iii) civic organization;
(iv) war veterans’ organization; or
(v) charitable organization.
§ 13-202. Application of subtitle.
Except as otherwise provided in this title, this subtitle applies in the following counties:
(1) Allegany County;
(2) Anne Arundel County;
(3) Baltimore County;
(4) Calvert County;
(5) Caroline County;
(6) Carroll County;
(7) Dorchester County;
(8) Frederick County;
(9) Garrett County;
(10) Howard County;
(11) Prince George’s County;
(12) St. Mary’s County;
(13) Somerset County;
(14) Talbot County; and
(15) Washington County.
§ 13-203. Gaming event without personal benefit – Allowed.
This title and Title 12 of this article do not prohibit a qualified organization from conducting a gaming event for the exclusive benefit of a qualified organization if an individual or group of individuals does not:
(1) benefit financially from the gaming event under this subtitle; or
(2) receive any of the proceeds from the gaming event under this subtitle for personal use or benefit.
13-204. Prizes and gaming devices allowed.
A qualified organization may award a prize in money or in merchandise at a gaming event using any gaming device, including:
(1) a paddle wheel;
(2) a wheel of fortune;
(3) a chance book; or
§ 13-205. Management of gaming event.
A qualified organization that conducts a gaming event under this subtitle shall manage the gaming event personally through its members.[The statute then presents numerous exceptions and permissions on a county by county basis. They are spelled out in detail in sections 13-301 through 13-2628]