Maryland Sports Wagering

Maryland’s sports wagering laws are set forth in the Maryland Annotated Code at State Government Article, §§ 9-1E-01, et seq. (“Sports Wagering Law” or “SWL”).

The enrolled version of HB 940 is available on the General Assembly’s website. The bill was signed into law and became effective on May 18, 2021. When the enacted version of the law is published, a link to it will be provided on this page.

At this time, it is not possible to apply for a sports wagering license, and a date when applications may be submitted has not yet been determined.

This page will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

The following are frequently asked questions about the Sports Wagering Law’s structure and licensing process.

For further information, please send an email to Maryland Lottery and Gaming’s Managing Director of Organizational Compliance James Butler, at jbutler@maryland.gov.

How does a business become approved and licensed to offer sports wagering?

Each applicant is subject to a two-step process:

Step 1: Review by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission

SWL § 9-1E-15 authorizes the creation of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) which will review all potential sports wagering applicants and award licenses based on criteria to be set forth in regulations. To the extent permitted by federal and state law, SWARC will actively seek to achieve racial, ethnic and gender diversity when approving applicants. Other criteria used to determine which applicants are approved must still be developed, and may include business plans and physical location.

SWARC is an independent body, separate from either the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency or Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, though Maryland Lottery and Gaming and Department of Legislative Services staff will assist the SWARC with its work. SWARC will consist of seven members – three appointed by the Governor, two by the Maryland Senate and two by the Maryland House of Delegates. SWARC’s members have not yet been named.

Step 2: Sports wagering license background investigation by Maryland Lottery and Gaming

Applications awarded by SWARC will be referred to Maryland Lottery and Gaming, which will conduct criminal and financial background investigations to determine whether the applicants are qualified to be issued a sports wagering license.

What is Maryland Lottery and Gaming’s role in sports wagering?

In addition to conducting licensing background investigations and issuing sports wagering licenses, Maryland Lottery and Gaming will serve as regulator of the state’s sports wagering market. MLGCA staff will promulgate and enforce sports wagering operational regulations. Agency staff will also monitor sports wagering revenues and contributions to the state and report those figures regularly. MLGCA will also establish and maintain a voluntary exclusion program for sports wagering.

What sports wagering locations are specifically identified in the Sports Wagering Law?

The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) is required to award 17 licenses to entities that are specified in SWL § 9-1E-06(a) if they apply. Those businesses, which are listed below, include casinos, professional sports stadiums, horse racing tracks, off-track betting facilities and bingo halls with at least 200 electronic instant bingo machines.

These locations must wait for SWARC to publish application submission guidelines. Then they must submit their applications, be approved by SWARC, and pass background investigations before Maryland Lottery and Gaming can issue a license.

The following locations were specified in the Sports Wagering Law:

Class A-1

  • MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill
  • Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover
  • Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore City
  • M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore City
  • Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore City
  • FedEx Field in Landover
  • Potential A-1 licensees include the owner (or designee of the owner) of any future National Basketball Association, National Hockey League or Major League Soccer franchise that leases a stadium in Maryland

Class A-2

  • Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin
  • Hollywood Casino in Perryville
  • Rocky Gap Casino in Flintstone
  • Laurel Park Race Track in Laurel and Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore City (sharing a single license)

Class B (Both B-1 and B-2)

  • Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium
  • Bingo World in Baltimore (Anne Arundel County)
  • Rod-n-Reel in Chesapeake Beach
  • Jockey Bar and Grill in Boonsboro
  • Greenmount Station in Hampstead
  • Long Shot’s in Frederick
  • Riverboat on the Potomac in Colonial Beach, Va. (docked in Maryland waters of the Potomac River)

When can businesses begin applying to SWARC and applying to Maryland Lottery and Gaming for a sports wagering license?

A date has not yet been determined. Updates on the timeline will be provided on this page as they become available. SWARC is a newly created body and its members must still be appointed. SWARC must promulgate regulations to govern its operation and issue application guidelines. The Department of Legislative Services must hire a consultant with sports wagering experience to assist SWARC in reviewing license applications. Maryland Lottery and Gaming must also promulgate sports wagering regulations. Until these steps have been completed, it will not be possible for businesses to begin the application process.

In addition to the locations named in the Sports Wagering Law, what other locations can apply for a sports wagering license?

SWL § 9-1E-06(a)(2) allows for up to 30 additional Class B sports wagering facilities, with the following provisions regarding their physical locations:

  • Provision 1: Class B facilities are prohibited within a 15-mile radius of the three Class A-2 casinos (Rocky Gap Casino, Hollywood Casino, Ocean Downs Casino).
  • Provision 2: Class B facilities are prohibited within a 1.5-mile radius of Class A locations in counties that are not described in Provision 1. In addition, Class B facilities may not be located within a 1.5-mile radius of one another.

What are the differences between the two types of Class A licenses and the two types of Class B licenses?

  • Class A-1: Casinos with more than 1,000 video lottery terminals; and the owner (or designee) of professional major league sports franchises or stadiums in Maryland.
  • Class A-2: Casinos with fewer than 1,000 video lottery terminals; and Pimlico and Laurel horse racing tracks.
  • Class B-1: Businesses with 25 or more equivalent full-time employees; or any business that has more than $3 million in annual gross receipts.
  • Class B-2: Businesses with 24 or fewer equivalent full-time employees; or any business that has less than $3 million in annual gross receipts.

Will sports wagering be available online or on mobile devices?

SWL § 9-1E-06(a)(1) allows for up to 60 mobile/online wagering licensees. All mobile sports wagering applicants must be approved by SWARC and meet Maryland Lottery and Gaming’s licensing requirements.

What are the application fees?

SWL § 9-1E-06(b) specifies the application fee each applicant for a sports wagering license must pay.  The application fee must be submitted with the application, is non-refundable, and varies by classification:

  • Class A-1: $2 million
  • Class A-2: $1 million
  • Class B-1: $250,000
  • Class B-2: $50,000
  • Mobile/online: $500,000

How will the application fees be used by the state?

5% of the license application fees paid by Class A applicants will go to the Small, Minority-Owned, and Women-Owned Business Sports Wagering Assistance Fund, which was established in SWL § 9-1E-16. The fund will assist these businesses in entering the sports wagering market. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission will also be permitted to use some of the application fees to cover costs associated with launching sports wagering in Maryland. All remaining license application fees will be deposited into the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund.

Aside from the licensing fee, what other costs are there for applicants?

Each sports wagering applicant must reimburse Maryland Lottery and Gaming for the cost of its sports wagering licensing background investigation. These costs will vary widely based upon the complexity of each applicant’s personal or business finances.

What is the duration of a sports wagering license? What are the renewal fees?

The term of each license is five years. The renewal fee will be 1% of each sports wagering licensee’s average annual proceeds for the preceding three-year period, not including the 15% that is contributed to the state.

How much will sports wagering revenues contribute to the state? How will the money be used?

All sports wagering licensees in Maryland will pay 15% of the gross revenue from sports wagering to the state. Gross revenue is the amount wagered less federal excise taxes, less payouts on winning wagers. The funds contributed to the state will be used to support public education programs that are part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, under the control of the Comptroller of Maryland. Sports wagering licensees retain the remaining 85% of their gross revenue from sports wagering. We do not have revenue estimates at this time.

When will it be possible to place bets on games?

An exact date has not been determined. Some of the entities named in the Sports Wagering Law may have their brick-and-mortar sports wagering operations up and running during the fall of 2021. For a business that is not named in the Sports Wagering Law, the review by SWARC and a licensing background investigation could take between 12 and 24 months from May 2021.