Maryland Gambling Regulation

Gambling Legislation imageMaryland has a rich gambling history and a long-established horse racing tradition, being home to legendary thoroughbred racetracks like Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. But racetracks are not the only locations in Maryland where gambling takes place. The Old Line State has six commercial casinos, the last of which, MGM National Harbor, commenced operation at the end of 2016.

The other five brick-and-mortar gaming venues are located in Flintstone, Perryville, Baltimore, Hanover, and Berlin. The venues provide jobs to over 15,300 Marylanders and reported $1.93 billion in gross gaming revenue in 2021. Numerous gambling options are legally available to residents, including slots, video poker, and tournament poker. The state legislature legalized table games in 2012, allowing for wagers on casino classics like roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack, and banked stud poker.

Maryland was one of the first states to start regulating daily fantasy sports (DFS) in 2017. While online casinos remain illegal in Maryland for the time being, the state made significant progress toward interactive gambling expansion in 2021. Retail sports betting launched in December 2021, while the first mobile sportsbooks are expected to go live sometime in 2022.

Gambling Laws in Maryland

Marylanders can legally participate in many different forms of gambling, all of which are regulated on a state level under the Maryland Code. The latter is a compilation of all statutes that are presently effective in the state and are categorized based on subject. State-sanctioned lotteries launched in 1973 under the regulation of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA).

Slot machines, commonly known as video lottery terminals (VLT), became legal in 2008. Legislators amended the law again in 2012 to allow live table games. Businesses that seek to conduct legal gambling activities must first obtain licenses from the state regulatory authorities. The provision of unauthorized gambling is punishable as an offense under the Maryland Criminal Law.

Maryland Criminal Law
Maryland Code §9-1A-01
Maryland Code §9-1A-05

Gambling License Types and Requirements

The six commercial gaming facilities in Maryland have all obtained operator licenses from the local regulatory agency. Permits are issued via a competitive bidding process. Licenses are non-transferable and apply only to the locations for which they have been issued.

Operator Licenses
Supplier Licenses
Employee Licenses

Taxes on Gambling Operators in Maryland

Taxes on Gambling Operators imageOne thing that sets apart Maryland from other states with regulated gambling is that tax rates vary for each licensed casino. The taxes imposed on video lottery terminals and table games also differ. The commercial operators can retain the following percentages of their VLT revenue:

The profits from table games are taxed at 20%. The Education Trust Fund receives 15% of the tax money under §9-1A-27(d) of the Maryland Code. The counties hosting the gaming facilities receive 5% of the proceeds from table games. The taxes collected from licensed slot machines are allocated as follows:

  • 46% – Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (over 2,200 slots and 150 video poker machines)
  • 44% – MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Prince George’s County (over 2,200 slots)
  • 49% – Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, Anne Arundel County (over 4,000 slots)
  • 39% – Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Cecil County (over 800 slots machines)
  • 60% – Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, Allegany County (over 600 slots)
  • 53% – Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, Worcester County (over 850 slots)
Allocation of Tax Money Collected from Licensed VLTs
Racetrack Renovation and Maintenance 1.00%
Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency 1.00%
Small-scale local businesses owned by females or minorities 1.50%
Host Counties 5.50%
Horse Race Purses 6.00%
Maryland Education Trust Fund 32.75% to 47.50%

Maryland casino operators can use up to 20% of their overall VLT earnings from the previous fiscal year for free bets and other promotions. Gamblers should keep in mind withholding taxes are levied on their winnings but only on condition they exceed $5,000. When so, the casinos must withhold 8.75% from residents of the state and 7.5% from non-resident players.

Responsible Gambling Requirements in Maryland

The state regulator encourages Marylanders to make healthy choices when it comes to gaming. It combats gambling-related harm through raising awareness, research, and employee training. The Maryland Code §9-1A-33 created the Problem Gambling Fund within the Department of Health.

Problem Gambling Fund
Self-Exclusion Database
Gambling Advertising Restrictions

Online Gambling in Maryland

Mobile Blackjack imageMaryland’s gambling legislation disallows nearly all forms of interactive gambling, which means no online slots, table games, or poker for local internet users. At the time of publication, only daily fantasy sports (DFS) are legal and regulated in the Old Line State. Daily fantasy sports are described in §9-1D-01 of the Maryland Code as contests where the participating players “own, manage or coach imaginary teams”.

Participants should know what prizes they are competing for beforehand. Winning outcomes should reflect the players’ relative skill and must depend on statistics generated by real-live teams from professional sports leagues.

Only residents who are at least 18 years old can participate in the daily fantasy contests. Skilled players should be labeled as “highly experienced”. DFS operators cannot offer contests that involve collegiate teams. Players can deposit no more than $1,000 per month, although requesting a temporary increase of this limit is possible.

Sports Betting Regulation in Maryland

Maryland is one of the late arrivals on the US sports betting scene as it legalized this form of wagering in May 2021. State residents approved the measure the previous year via a referendum in November. Around 67% of them voted in favor of sports betting legalization. Less than half a year later, Governor Lawrence Hogan placed his signature on House Bill 940, sponsored by House Delegate Adrienne Jones.

Retail Sportsbooks Partners
License Fees, Taxes, and Other Costs
Allowed Bets Types

Maryland Gambling Regulators

Gambling Regulators imageThe Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) is responsible for the regulation of commercial gaming facilities as part of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA). The MLGCC comprises a board of seven members tasked with the regulatory oversight of gaming tables and slot machines in the Old Line State. The MLGCC also acts as an advisory board to the MLGCA.

The MLGCC assesses and okays the licenses granted to casino operators and gaming equipment suppliers. As of 2021, the regulatory entity has the added mandate to oversee the regulation of sports betting and daily fantasy sports under HB940 and §9-1D-01. The seven members of the MLGCC serve five-year terms and are selected by the Maryland governor with the Senate’s approval.

One of the seven commissioners is appointed annually to act as a chairperson of the regulatory agency. Each commissioner should be at least 25 years old and a US citizen with a residency of five or more years in the country. Up to five MLGCC members can have the same political party affiliation. At least one member must be a resident of a county that hosts a commercial gaming facility.


Most forms of gambling are already legal in Maryland, with six commercial venues that cater to gaming fans with regulated table games and slot machines. The most recent development in the local gambling industry is the legalization of retail and mobile sports wagering in 2021. We consider this a good sign, so perhaps remote casino-style gaming could also come to Maryland in the next few years.