Maryland Casinos

Written by: Cliff Spiller, Online Casino and Game Expert
Maryland Casino & Gambling
  • Racing (1870), Lottery (1972), Bingo (1952), Casinos (2008)
  • $900 million
  • $2.8 billion
  • Bingo, racing, and lottery: 18 Casinos: 21
  • Smoking is not permitted in any indoor businesses in Maryland.
  • Horse racing

While Maryland casinos were legalized later than other states in the region, is has no aversion to gambling. Horse racing dates back to the 19th Century. The regulation was originally left up to the city governments before pari-mutuel betting went online early in the 20th Century. The state permits charities to offer bingo and other games of chance.

Maryland casinos were not approved until 2008. Resort casinos and some racetracks may offer Atlantic City style gambling.

Paying Gambling Taxes in Maryland

Do you have to pay taxes on your gambling winnings? OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos has gathered everything you need to know about paying taxes straight from a Certified Public Accountant. For more information please visit our exclusive Gambling Taxes article.

Types of Maryland Online Gambling Allowed

NFL sports iconThere are two forms of legal Maryland online gambling. Off-track horse racing is permitted on apps and registered websites. The main companies that accept this type of pari-mutuel action are TVG, XpressBet, and TwinSpires.

Maryland wanted to legalize fantasy sports by the end of 2015, but was repealed by state legislation in 2016. The state adopted language in the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that exempts fantasy sports. This is thought to give the green light to daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo!, and CBS Sports. Even the most conservative daily fantasy sites accept players from Maryland.

Types of Live Maryland Gambling

Popular games iconPopular Games
  • Slots: Yes
  • Blackjack: Yes
  • Poker: Yes
  • Craps/Roulette: Yes
  • Horses: Yes
  • Lottery: Yes

Horse racing is the oldest form of Maryland gambling. There were once six tracks in the state. There are now just two that offer scheduled races with pari-mutuel betting. They are Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park. Pimlico is home to the Preakness race, which is part of the Triple Crown.

There are two types of games of chance widely available in Maryland. Charities may offer bingo and raffles. Bingo rules are liberal. Raffles may only be operated twice per year. Local governments set the licensing and location rules for charitable gambling in Maryland.

A state lottery sells scratch-off and lotto tickets. These are available at convenience stores throughout the state.

There are five Maryland casinos. They are Rocky Gap Casino, Horseshoe Casino, Hollywood Casino, Maryland Live!, and Ocean Downs. MGM National Harbor will open in late 2016. These Maryland casinos offer all the same games found in New Jersey or Nevada. These popular casino games include slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, and card games banked by the house.

Maryland gambling laws

Maryland gambling laws are strict for activities that are not specifically legal. Possession of gambling devices is illegal for residents. This also applies to vessels that may go out into international waters. Charities must register with local authorities. Charitable games permitted are paddlewheels, wheel of fortune, raffles and bingo. Charities may hold no more than two raffles per year. Bingo players may not purchase more than 54 tickets in a session.

Maryland casinos are allowed to operate if legalized through a local referendum. Each region may only have one gambling operation. There are six jurisdictions that voted to allow casinos in Maryland. The Maryland casinos are located in:

  • Allegany County
  • Baltimore
  • Cecil County
  • Anne Arundel County
  • Worcester County
  • Prince George’s County

Maryland casinos may offer a wide variety of games. These casino games include slots, video poker, live poker, craps, roulette, blackjack, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, baccarat, and other card games. There is a 67 percent tax rate on slots. This is the highest in the country. The tax on table games and live poker is 20 percent.

Horseracing is legal in Maryland. Greyhound racing is not. Racetracks may offer live racing and race books. Registered interstate racing companies may accept bets over mobile apps and the Internet in Maryland.

The state lottery may sell scratch-off ticets and hold lotto drawings. It may participate in interstate lotto drawings. Tickets may not be sold over the Internet.

Maryland is one of two states, the other being Kansas, that specifically legalized fantasy sports. The state adopted the fantasy sports exemption in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2012. There is some debate as to whether the language applies to daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. However, in 2016 this gambling law was repealed by the Maryland state legislation, making it once again illegal.

The minimum gambling age in Maryland is 18 years for lotteries, racing, and charitable gaming. Maryland casino gamblers must be 21 years or older.

List of Maryland Casinos

Beyond the hundreds of lottery retailers and bingo halls, there are just eight places to gamble in Maryland. Laurel Downs and Pimlico Race Course are the two racetracks. There are 146 days of live racing between these two venues. Each also has a race book for simulcast betting.

There are five Maryland casinos open for business in the state. A sixth is currently under construction. You can use the information below to find a location, or use our Maryland casinos map to help guide yourself to the nearest one.

Hollywood Casino – Perryville1,500 Slot Machines1201 Chesapeake Overlook
Horseshoe Casino – Baltimore3,750 Slot Machines1525 Russell
Maryland Live! – Hanover4,750 Slot Machines7002 Arundel Mills Cir
MGM National Harbor3,600 Slot MachinesUnder
Oceans Downs – Berlin800 Slot Machines10218 Racetrack
Rocky Gap Casino – Flintstone550 Slot Machines16701 Lakeview

History of Maryland Gambling

Maryland casino history

Horse racing dates back to the mid 18th Century. The Maryland Jockey Club was founded in 1743. Its first races were held at Pimlico Race Course. It is still open today and home of The Preakness, one of the three Triple Crown races. Racing became specifically legal under state law in 1870. That is when pari-mutuel betting pools were created in Maryland under a state racing commission. Regulation of the specific tracks was left to the county or city where the track was located until 1912, when the state took control.

Maryland approved off-track betting in 1988. Simulcasting of races was only legal at the time when live racing was not operating on a track. In 1993, the state expanded off-track betting at any time the facility was open for business.

State Lottery Approved

Voters approved a state lottery in November 1972. This was done through a constitutional referendum. The first ticket was sold on May 15, 1973. Early drawings were lottos of the Pick 3 and Pick 4 variety. The first scratch-off ticket was not sold until February 10, 1976. Scratch-off tickets are bigger sellers than lotto games today.

Casinos were approved through a statewide constitutional referendum in November 2008. Casinos operate under the oversight of the Maryland Lottery. Hollywood Casino in Perryville was the first to open on September 17, 2010. Ocean Downs opened the following year. Maryland Live! opened in 2012. Rocky Gap Casino opened in 2013. Horseshoe Casino launched in Baltimore in 2014. MGM National Harbor was awarded the state’s resort gaming license. It will open in 2016.

Online Gambling Issues and Controversies

Hold Hand Icon

Maryland does not permit online gambling. It has been home to several busts related to the acceptance of internet bets. The Maryland office of the Department of Justice led busts like Operation Texas Hold’em where funds were distributed to local police departments for their participation.

The Linwood Payment Solutions sting operation originated in Maryland through the Department of Justice. This is where a bogus processor was created to handle payments for offshore online gambling sites and eWallets. This took down UseMyWallet and some sports betting sites in May 2011, just six weeks after Black Friday. This was referred to as Blue Monday in the online gambling world. Companies that survived saw their domain names seized and were forced to buy ones in ther countries.

Calvin Ayre and two other officers of Bodog were indicted by the same Department of Justice office in February 2012. The domain was seized at the time. U.S. players had already been moved to by that time as the company saw the risk of its .com domains. None of the three indicted ever traveled to the U.S. to fight the charges. Calvin Ayre was on the Top 10 List of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He dropped off the list even though he is still at-large.

Maryland was the first state to expressly legalize fantasy sports in 2012. The state legislature passed the exemption in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This made it clear that fantasy sports contests were legal in the state.

Maryland Casinos & Gambling FAQ

Is horseracing legal in Maryland?

Yes and it has been in operation since 1743.

What track is The Preakness held?

Pimlico Race Course is home to The Preakness.

Is off-track betting legal in Maryland?

Race books are permitted at the two racetracks in Maryland.

What two horse racing tracks are in Maryland?

Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Downs are the two pari-mutuel tracks in Maryland.

Is online gambling legal in Maryland?

Off-track betting and fantasy sports are legal over the Internet and on mobile devices.

Which daily fantasy sports sites accept Maryland players?

All fantasy sites accept Maryland players. The largest are DraftKings, FanDuel, CBS Sports, and Yahoo! Even conservative sites like StarsDraft and Star Fantasy Leagues accept Maryland players.

What off-track betting sites accept Maryland players?

The most popular off-track betting sites that accept players from Maryland are TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica.

Are casinos legal in Maryland?

There are six casinos approved in Maryland. Five are open as of March 2016.

What games are spread at Maryland casinos?

Slots, video poker, live poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Pai Gow Poker, and baccarat are among the available games.

What is the minimum gambling age in Maryland?

The minimum Maryland gambling age is 18 years for bingo, racing, and lottery, and 21 years for casinos.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller Online Casino and Game Expert

I've been writing for OUSC about the casino industry for more than 15 years. I love playing games, including poker, Scrabble, and trivia games. I enjoy researching and writing new online casino reviews and sharing game strategies.

Learn More About Cliff