Second Full Month of Retail Maryland Sports Betting Sees 21.5% Decline

Second Full Month of Retail Maryland Sports Betting Sees 21.5% Decline
Fact Checked by Editorial Staff

In its second full month of retail sportsbook operations, Maryland sports betting reflected the vagaries of the sports wagering industry.

With a total February handle of about $25.5 million reported by the state’s five retail sportsbooks, all of them located in five casinos, the taxable win came in at less than $1 million (actually, $893,710) dragged down by an atypically aggregate low hold of 3.74%. The contribution to the state was $134,628.

Maryland’s first full month of retail sports wagering was in January and for a comparison, the February sports betting handle was down 21.5% from the previous month ($32.5 million) and the taxable win was down 79.2% from January ($4.3 million) — the latter impacted by February’s exceptionally low hold. In contrast, the hold in January was 13.2%.

The relatively good fortune enjoyed by gamblers in February was to the detriment of state coffers. February’s state tax from sports betting, $134,628, was down 79.1% from January ($644,098). Taxes from sports gambling in Maryland go mainly toward education.

Live! Leads the Way in Maryland

So far, five of the state’s six casinos are taking sports bets at their retail sportsbooks and Maryland Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover continues to lead the way.

Live!, with a new multi-million-dollar sportsbook-sports bar-restaurant, had handle of $11.1 million; MGM National Harbor, near Washington D.C., had $7.5 million in handle; Horseshoe Casino Baltimore had $3.9 million; Hollywood Casino Perryville had nearly $1.9 million and Ocean Downs Casino (Berlin) had about $1.1 million.

The overall taxable revenue number was particularly impacted by MGM National Harbor’s results where the hold was just 0.2% on the $7.5 million handle which, after deductions, produced a negative taxable win of almost minus-$4 million and resulted in no taxes to the state.

Such results may be a cautionary tale for potential smaller operators who might want take advantage of Maryland’s relatively liberal access to the sports wagering industry. Maryland’s sports betting law provides for various tiers of potential licensees and allows for dozens of applicants, such as bar and restaurant operators, to enter the sports gambling business.

Still a Ways to Go for Mobile

Retail sports betting launched on Dec. 9 with various sportsbooks starting at various times.

In Maryland, mobile sports betting is legal but it hasn’t started yet with regulatory and application processes still unfolding.

Maryland Lottery & Gaming Director John Martin told that he hopes online betting could start by the 2022 NFL season. However, as time goes on, the target date for the launch of online sports betting in Maryland may drift further back on the calendar.



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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