Here’s Why Sports Betting Is Slow to Grow in Maryland

Ian Martinez #23 of the Maryland Terrapins. Justin Casterline/Getty Images/AFP

Sports betting is progressing slowly in Maryland and it sheds light on the development of sports betting as a whole in this country.

In this article, I will explain how the analysis of sports betting in Maryland contributes to the overall conversation. Here’s what is disappointing in this state.

Catching Up 

First, let’s get caught up on what the current situation is in the sports betting landscape in Maryland. In November of 2020, Maryland voters decided to make sports betting legal in their state.

After the passage of some bills and other democratic maneuvers, in 2021, BetMGM became the first sportsbook to operate on December 9, 2021. A few other sportsbooks followed thereafter. Currently, five sportsbooks operate in the state. They are retail.

Regarding handle, of course, the numbers in this state can’t be too high because it’s a smaller state with relatively limited population size. Maryland ranks 19th nationally among states in number of residents. In January, Maryland’s sportsbooks reported the following handle: 32.5 million dollars. In February, this number dropped to 25.5 million dollars.

Excuses, Excuses 

It’s easy to blame the sports schedule for this slip. But look at New York. In this state, online New York sportsbooks accumulated over $350 million in handle every week in February, and this streak extends before February.

If New York is consistently netting great gains in the sports betting landscape, then why can’t Maryland? The keyword is “online.” Online sports betting is permitted in New York but Online Sports Betting Sites are still not allowed to operate in Maryland.

They could be ready for the next football season, but it’s not certain when top sportsbooks will launch online in Maryland. When online sports betting does commence in Maryland, and only then, the state’s financial situation will look more promising. Now, I don’t want to say that the sports schedule should be ignored completely.

Other states, like Indiana, for example, suffered a similar decline in handle from January to February. Sportsbooks should perform better in Maryland in March since NBA doesn’t have an All-Star Break and March Madness is always a huge deal. But the increase in revenue will not be anything like what will happen when online sports betting launches.

We’ve seen in other states, too, how much online sports betting helps the state in which it launches to increase its revenue. So, when sportsbooks perform a bit better in March in Maryland, my overall point will still stand: Maryland needs online sports betting to launch as soon as possible.