The Old Line State is one of the smallest in the US, but it boasts a significant presence when it comes to real money gambling. Online gambling in Maryland hasn’t caught up to its brick and mortar counterparts as of yet, though.
Daily fantasy sports are already regulated, and mobile wagering will accompany sports betting if the voters give it the nod in November of 2020. However, the best Maryland gambling sites are currently located outside state borders.
Maryland is known for the Pimlico Race Course, the home of the Preakness Stakes. It also houses four other tracks, as well as six OTB outlets. Pari-mutuel wagering was the catalyst for gambling expansion but hasn’t been the only game in town for several decades.
Five sister states surround MD, so it strives to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to betting and gaming opportunities. If it’s not accommodating casino gaming and other alternatives, residents are just a short car ride away to other states that will fit the bill.
Maryland online gambling, though, has been on the back burner. The DFS approval was in 2017, but that’s the temporary end to any state regulation for gambling online in MD. That doesn’t mean residents are out of luck with real money online gambling, though, as there’s a shortlist of reputable Maryland gambling sites that welcome residents of the state with (virtual) open arms.
We’re always looking for the best things in life, aren’t we? We want the best doctor, the best job, the best home, the best food, and on and on. When it comes to online gambling in Maryland, or anywhere for that matter, securing the best provider is also the goal.
Coming up with the best Maryland online gambling sites, though, isn’t as straightforward as finding the best price or value. There are quite a few things involved when it comes to gambling online for real money. After all, you’re not walking into a casino and exchanging cash.
You need ways to deposit to your online account and to claim your winnings when it’s time. If you’re a poker player or enjoy sports betting, you’ve got the challenge of finding a provider that offers more than casino games. Superior gambling sites also have a variety of bonuses and promotions, quality customer service, and an excellent reputation.
When you take all of those things into consideration, you can see how a simple Google search just won’t cut it. But that’s where we come in with our list of the top Maryland gambling sites. Our team of experts has done the legwork to come up with a list of recommended providers. So, you can pick from the best of the best, instead of starting at square one.
In addition to ranking the overall best online gambling sites for Maryland, we’ve also ranked the leading sites in a few more specific categories.
It takes quite a while for us to compile and maintain our list of recommended MD gambling sites, as it’s a multi-part process.
We start by gathering up the names of all online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms that open their virtual doors to Marylanders. That’s only the beginning, though. All of the websites go through a thorough review process by our team.
Our gambling site reviews include a long list of criteria covering many of the topics mentioned above, such as banking, promotions, and games. We keep records of the software providers, the number and variety of games, banking methods, and all of the other pertinent details that you’d want to know.
We also take into consideration the reputation and longevity of the ownership group. Player feedback, news articles, and our overall impressions also factor into the site’s ratings.
Once we have proper evaluations, we can compare all of the Maryland gambling sites to each other. The ones that rise to the top and meet or, even better, exceed expectations make our “best” list.
Regulated Online Gambling in Maryland
Before we get to the current state of gambling laws in Maryland, it’s helpful to take a look back. Gambling history and expansion in the Old Line State reveals how many residents feel about legal betting opportunities.
Maryland is one of the more progressive locations regarding legal gambling pursuits. It’s one of the few that had a successful casino gaming program in the mid-1900s that eventually returned bigger and better than ever after a hiatus.
Centuries of Pari-Mutuel Betting
The first bets, though, were well before then. Pari-mutuel wagering predates Maryland’s statehood. The Maryland Jockey Club is the oldest of its kind, established in 1743, and MD also has the second oldest racetrack in the country. Pimlico, which is the home of the Preakness Stakes — the second leg of the Triple Crown Series — was built in 1870.
Horse racing and Maryland just go hand in hand. In 1912, pari-mutuel betting was legalized and hadn’t gone anywhere since. You can’t say the same for slot games, though. Slots were big business from 1947 to 1968. They generated $24 million annually before the legal status changed, and it took more than 40 years to bring them back.
Lottery and Casinos
Before casino gaming was back on the table, the Maryland Lottery launched in 1973, then things quieted again until the Hollywood Casino opened its doors in Perryville in 2010. More casino and racino expansion followed. Hanover’s Live! Casino and Hotel even boasts a two-story live poker room.
So, the current state of in-person gambling activities includes the lottery, pari-mutuel betting, and casinos.
Recognizing Maryland Online Gambling
When it comes to online gambling, things haven’t progressed quite as far, at least not with in-state opportunities. Daily fantasy sports were legalized in 2017, providing MD’s first online gambling program.
Other online gaming in Maryland covers casino games, sportsbooks, and poker rooms. However, they’re courtesy of operators from outside the area. There aren’t any in-state real money gambling sites except DFS at this time.
Possible Future Sports Betting
The next piece of the gambling expansion puzzle could fall into place in late 2020. Sports betting is a hot topic for Marylanders, and voters are going to have their say in the November election.
A sportsbook bill has moved on to the voting stage and could result in brick and mortar books, as well as a mobile betting program.
Current Gambling Situation in Maryland
Casinos: Six casinos
Sports Betting: Currently not legalized; bill is pending
Poker: Approved in casinos
Pari-Mutuel: Five tracks and six OTBs
Lottery: Retailers throughout the state
Daily Fantasy Sports: Legal and regulated for online play
Online Gambling: Available through out-of-area operators only
MD Online Gambling Bonuses
If you’re reading this information, you’re at least somewhat curious about real money online gambling in Maryland. As we’ve previously mentioned, there are quite a few differences between walking into a land-based casino, like Ocean Downs and accessing a gambling site.
One part of the online service, that doesn’t even closely resemble its in-person counterpart, is bonuses.
Brick and mortar casinos tend to keep it simple with bonus programs. If you’re new and sign up for a player’s card, you may get something like a free buffet or $10 in play cash. Cash incentives need to be played through, usually in slots or video poker machines. Once your wagers add up to $10 (or whatever the bonus amount), then you’re typically free and clear to claim some winnings, if you’ve accumulated any.
Maryland online gambling sites are going to entice you with offers like a “200% deposit match for new players.” They’re exciting bonus incentives because they can be quite valuable. After all, if you deposit $100 and get a 200% deposit match, that takes your credit balance to $300, right? Well, not exactly, but it could happen.
Before you jump right in and accept the bonus, you’ll want to know more about it. There’s a rollover (a playthrough requirement) that has the same basic concept as land-based venues, except it’s much more challenging.
Instead of playing the bonus through at least once, you may have to roll it over 30 times or maybe even more. Plus, your deposit could also be factored into the equation, as crazy as it sounds.
So, using the $300 example ($100 deposit + $200 bonus), if your rollover is 30x, you have to accomplish $9,000 in betting before you can cash anything out of your player’s account. The $9,000 is derived from adding the deposit plus bonus to get $300 in total. Then, you multiply it by 30.
These are just sample numbers, but an 30x rollover is average. The bottom line is that you need to be aware of the differences between online gambling in Maryland and walking into a casino.
You can reap quite a bit of benefit from bonuses and incentives, but you’ll want to know and understand all of the terms and conditions, or you can just say no to the offer. Note that there are many different types of bonuses, and they don’t just apply to casino gambling either.
Start Gambling Online in Maryland
Maryland has some active neighbors when it comes to legal gambling opportunities. Delaware, DC, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia surround the Old Line State, and residents can get to them quickly.
So, to keep as much money in the state as possible, Maryland needs to stay competitive. It’s evolved with the times as far as casino gambling and daily fantasy sports. Sports betting, including mobile access, is a real possibility for 2021.
When it comes to gambling online, though, competition isn’t enough incentive for MD to go “all in,” at least not yet. However, Marylanders aren’t lacking for real money online gambling options, as there are now quite a few originating from other jurisdictions.
It’s just a matter of picking the best Maryland gambling sites to ensure safe, secure, and fair gaming.