In November 2020, Maryland officially joined the ever-growing list of states legalizing sports betting in the US. These changes have been sweeping the nation and have opened up a whole new industry and a wealth of opportunities for gaming that will impact millions.
Maryland Has Legalized Sports Betting
After the sports betting referendum passed in Maryland, the legislators went on to pass House Bill 940 in April 2021. This bill allows up to 60 online and 30 retail sportsbooks licenses to be granted in the state. A number which is currently the highest of any legal market in the United States.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency has been hard at work ever since to make the necessary moves to launch both retail and online gaming options all across the state. While online sports betting might still be a little way off, we might be able to get a good idea of how the launch will look in Maryland and what the betting handle might be like by taking a glance at comparative states that have legalized online sports betting in recent years.
Sports Betting Handles to Date in the US
Sports betting handles vary greatly depending on many different factors. Therefore, it can feel a bit like a conundrum to try to riddle out what a pre-launch state’s betting handle might be.
To start off, let’s take a look at some of the other states with online sports betting and their total betting handle thus far since it was legalized.
|State||Legalized In||Total Handle|
|New Jersey||June 2018||$20,295,325,782|
|West Virginia||March 2018||$1,069,254,585|
Which Legal States Might Be Comparable to Maryland in Terms of Sports Betting Revenue
When determining which states and their handles might be most comparable to what Maryland sports betting handle might look like, it’s important to take into account several factors. One of the largest being the state’s overall wealth. A good measure of this is the state’s median household income.
Maryland is a very wealthy state with a median income of $94,384. Because of that, it is a lot less likely to have a betting handle similar to states such as:
- West Virginia with a median income of $51,615 or
- Mississippi with a median income of $44,966
It is more likely that Maryland will have a similar betting handle and launch projection to states such as:
- Pennsylvania with a median income of $70,117
- Colorado with a median income of $82,611 and
- New Jersey with a median income of $85,239
Maryland is likely to follow the betting handle trajectory of other states with residents that have a similar disposable income.
Maryland’s retail launch is well under way, but the online launch is taking a bit more time to go live. The latest news regarding that came from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s director, John Martin, who said in November 2021 that the online gaming launch may be delayed. Although, they still aim for a late 2022 launch.
Looking at how the launches played out in comparative states might help in predicting what Maryland’s online betting launch might look like and how much revenue it may end up bringing in.
New Jersey’s Sports Betting Launch
New Jersey was the pioneering state in the fight to legalize sports betting in the United States once again.
In 1992, Congress enacted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which banned all single-game wagering in the US outside of Nevada. New Jersey began fighting for sports betting to be legalized once more starting in 2011. The state did not give up the fight despite several defeats until the state was able to finally bring their case before the Supreme Court in 2017.
History was made for sports betting when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey in 2018. This made it possible for every state to legalize sports betting if they so wish.
After that it was like a domino effect with state after state was legalizing sports betting and it seems like it might only be the start. With each election, more states are legalizing sports betting. Maryland being one of the most recent to join the ranks.
Since launching, New Jersey’s betting handle has increased exponentially each year that has passed. This proves that the sports betting craze isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Take a look at how much the numbers jumped in these three consecutive years:
New Jersey’s historic sports betting launch proved that mobile online sports betting would be the most popular way to wager in this new technological age!
Mobile App Sports Betting – Maryland, It’s Coming
The first legal online sports bet outside of the state of Nevada was placed in New Jersey in August 2018, just a few short months after being officially legalized. DraftKings was the first to get their easy-to-use App outside of Nevada.
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The state of New Jersey had already been hard at work for years to legalize sports betting. So making swift moves to make online sports betting accessible as quickly as possible was inevitable. Other states tend to have a little more of a gap between retail gaming options becoming available and the launch of online gaming.
However, the development of online sports betting in New Jersey has shown that mobile betting is huge, taking up a huge chunk of the revenue through Apps. A trend that has been reflected in other states since.
How Might Maryland’s Launch Compare?
Several retail licenses have already been awarded to sportsbooks around the state. But it still might take a bit of time for online sports betting and mobile apps to go live.
Back in October, the finalization of the rules and regulations was slightly delayed because of The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s need to review some further commentary and points of contention.
Even though some states like New Jersey and Colorado had quick online launches, others like Pennsylvania hit a few bumps in the road along the way just like Maryland. Pennsylvania had a bit of a delay in launching online options compared to retail. However, when the state did finally launch their sports betting apps in the summer of 2019, they were hugely successful just like they were in NJ.
Maryland is aiming for a late-2022 launch for online sports betting and mobile apps that allow remote registration. Because of its convenience, online sports betting will likely have the biggest impact on Maryland sports betting handle.
How Might Maryland Sports Betting Handle Compare?
There have been several projections made regarding Maryland’s possible betting handle and they vary widely. State officials have made some projections of $133 million annually. But, when you take the betting handles of other states into account along with Maryland’s relative wealth, it becomes clear that these are actually rather modest projections.
With a median household income that’s even higher than states like New Jersey, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, it is a very likely that Maryland will end up having a higher betting handle than state officials project especially when online sports betting takes off.
Industry insiders have projected a significantly higher possible betting handle for the state of Maryland. Some insiders estimating up to $225 million in gross revenue. It is also likely that this may just increase as each year passes just like we have seen in comparable states.
Once online and mobile gaming goes live, it is likely full speed ahead for the sports betting industry in Maryland!