Maryland Retail Sports Betting Posts $16.55M Handle in First Month

Maryland Retail Sports Betting Posts $16.55M Handle in First Month
By Bill Ordine

Maryland’s five retail sportsbooks delivered a New Year’s present to the state’s taxpayers of nearly $470,000 in the sportsbooks’ first month of operation — December 2021.

So far, Maryland sports betting has launched five retail sportsbooks, all located inside casinos.

The first three went live in the same week — MGM National Harbor on Dec. 9, followed by Live! Casino & Hotel (opened Dec. 10) and Baltimore Horseshoe Casino (opened Dec. 10). Ocean Downs Casino (Dec. 17); and Hollywood Casino (Dec. 23) opened later in the month.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made the first bet in the state at the BetMGM Sportsbook in MGM National Harbor on Dec. 9. The wager was for the Washington Football Team to win the NFC and the Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC. Needless to say, neither happened as both teams missed the playoffs.

More sportsbooks at smaller business, such as OTBs with bars and restaurants, have been approved and are expected to open in the near future. The latest approval came on Dec. 20 for Greenmount Station, an OTB in Hampstead, south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line in Carroll County.

A High Hold in MD

In December, the five sportsbooks had a combined $16.55 million in wagering handle and had taxable win of $3.17 million for a hold of 19.2%. Traditionally, sports gambling hold percentages have been broadly in the range of 5% to 8%.

Maryland has a 15% tax rate on sports wagering, so after some small deductions from the total taxable win, the tax contribution was $469,297. The tax money goes to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, which supports a variety of public education programs.

“We are truly excited that sports wagering is available, and we’re eager to do our part to keep the market growing,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said in a news release.

No Online Sports Betting Yet

Maryland’s sports wagering legislation also provides for online sports betting but that is not expected to happen until later this year.

A facet of the state’s sports gambling law is that it encourages participation by minority- and women-owned businesses, and small businesses in general. Dozens of retail sportsbook licenses could be issued under state law guidelines and as many as 60 online sportsbook licenses are also available, though it is highly unlikely there will be anywhere near that many applicants.

In December, Live! Casino & Hotel had the biggest sports betting handle in Maryland online gambling ($7.1 million), followed by MGM National Harbor (almost $6 million), Horseshoe Baltimore (nearly $2.6 million), Ocean Downs (about $554,000), and Hollywood ($319,000).

Maryland had its second-best month ever for casino revenue at $172.9 million in December. That was up 7.8% over November. The casinos contributed $71.1 million to the state in December and contribution to the Education Trust Fund for the month was $51.7 million.

There are no real money Maryland online casino options.

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A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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