When did casino gaming become legal in Maryland?

In a 2008 constitutional referendum, voters approved the installation of video lottery terminals (slot machines) at five privately owned casinos in Allegany County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Cecil County and Worcester County. In a 2012 referendum, voters approved the legalization of table games at Maryland casinos and the addition of a sixth casino in Prince George’s County. 

What role does Maryland Lottery and Gaming play in the state’s casino program?

Maryland Lottery and Gaming serves as the regulator of the state’s casino program and is responsible for ensuring that each facility complies with all regulations before issuing an operation license. As regulators, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming is responsible for the following once the facility is in operation:

  • Ensuring casinos provide proper surveillance and adequate security staffing at all times.
  • Ensuring casinos have adequate systems of internal controls.
  • Performing background investigations and licensing of casino employees.
  • Performing auditing and accounting of casino gaming revenue.
  • Ensuring casinos comply with Maryland’s gaming laws and regulations.
  • Ensuring casinos have adequate responsible gambling programs.

What is the role of Maryland Lottery and Gaming’s casino compliance staff?

Members of the MLGA’s compliance staff are on duty during all hours of operation at all six casinos. Their job is to ensure that the casinos adhere to state gaming laws and regulations, as well as the casinos’ own internal policies. Patrons may visit the MLGA’s compliance office at each casino with questions related to such issues.

How does Maryland benefit from casinos?

The casinos contribute hundreds of millions of dollars annually to state programs. Since the opening of the state’s first casino in 2010, casino gaming revenue has contributed more than $3.2 billion to the Maryland Education Trust Fund, which supports pre-K through 12 public education, public school and higher-education construction, and capital improvements including community colleges. Casino revenue also supports local impact grants, local jurisdictions and Maryland’s horse racing industry and responsible gambling programs. A breakdown of where  the money goes is available here.

The state’s six casinos employ more than 7,000 people and make the communities in which they are located more attractive to new businesses. With the influx of new enterprise, both businesses and residents reap the rewards of visitor spending as well as revenue generated through gaming, property and sales taxes.

How are proceeds from table games distributed?

According to state law, 80% goes to casino operators, 15% goes to the Education Trust Fund and 5% goes to local jurisdictions.

How are the proceeds from slot machines distributed?

According to state law, the slot machine proceeds are divided differently for each casino. Information is available in the monthly gaming revenue reports.

How often is casino revenue reported?

Casino gaming revenues are reported on the 5th of every month or the first Monday after that if the 5th falls on a weekend. Click here for the latest figures and those from previous months.

What is the payout percentage on slot machines at Maryland's casinos?

State law requires that each slot machine must pay out a minimum of 87% to players. In addition, regulation requires each casino to maintain a payout percentage of 87% to 95% for the slot machine floor as a whole. Floor averages are posted publicly in each casino, usually near the cashier’s cage. They are also published quarterly in a report from Maryland Lottery and Gaming’s Managing Director of Gaming.

The most recent quarterly floor averages available cover the first quarter of 2021 (January through March):

  • Hollywood Casino: 90.26%
  • Ocean Downs Casino: 91.02%
  • Live! Casino: 90.92%
  • Rocky Gap Casino: 91.24%
  • Horseshoe Casino: 91.00%
  • MGM National Harbor: 90.72%

Where are Maryland’s six casinos located?

The state’s six casinos are as follows:

Hollywood Casino Perryville (Cecil County)
Maryland’s first gaming facility, Hollywood Casino Perryville opened on September 27, 2010 and is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. The casino has slot machines and table games, dining, and live entertainment every Saturday. For more information, go to hollywoodcasinoperryville.com.

Ocean Downs Casino (Worcester County)
Ocean Downs Casino opened on January 4, 2011, and added its first table games in December 2017. The facility is operated by Churchill Downs, Inc. For more information, go to oceandowns.com.

Live! Casino & Hotel (Anne Arundel County)
Live! Casino & Hotel (formerly Maryland Live!), located in Hanover’s Arundel Mills commercial district, opened on June 6, 2012. Maryland’s third casino and entertainment complex includes slot machines, table games, a live music venue, several restaurants and almost 5,000 parking spaces. A hotel and events center opened in 2018. For more information, go to marylandlivecasino.com.

Rocky Gap Casino Resort (Allegany County)
Located in Cumberland, Rocky Gap Casino Resort opened May 22, 2013, with slot machines and table games, several dining options, 215 hotel rooms and a meeting space. For more information, go to rockygapcasino.com.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (Baltimore City)
Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino opened on August 26, 2014 and features slot machines, table games, including a poker room, and several dining options. For more information, go to caesars.com/horseshoe-baltimore.

MGM National Harbor (Prince George’s County)
MGM National Harbor opened on December 8, 2016 and features slot machines, table games, several dining options, a theater and a hotel. For more information, visit mgmnationalharbor.com.

What is the difference between banked table games and non-banked table games?

In banked table games, casino patrons play against the house (e.g., blackjack, craps, roulette). In non-banked table games, casino patrons play against other players (e.g. poker).

Does Maryland Lottery and Gaming regulate other types of gaming programs in addition to the casinos?

Yes. In addition to the Maryland Lottery and the casinos, Maryland Lottery and Gaming regulates the following ancillary gaming activities:

When will sports betting or other forms of gambling be available in Maryland?

In accordance with Article XIX of Maryland’s Constitution, any expansion of commercial gambling must be approved by a majority of voters in a statewide referendum. Placing any question of expanded commercial gambling on a statewide ballot requires approval by the General Assembly. Sports betting was approved by voters via referendum in November 2020. The General Assembly passed a bill outlining the structure of the state’s sports betting market in April 2021. Implementation is in progress, and sports betting may be available in late 2021 or early 2022.