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Gambling in Maryland

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Maryland is very popular due to its very contrasting topography. However, perhaps due to its much smaller land area compared to the other 40 states, there is very limited gambling available.

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Maryland has hosted a state-wide lottery since 1973. Back then, gambling was limited to the lottery, a numbers game played daily, and keno. Maryland also participated in Big Game Lotto as part of the six states. There was also a move to adapt lottery format of Great Britain played with bond. In Great Britain, a player stays a lotto player as long as he or she is in possession of the bond. After several discussions, the move was abandoned by the state legislature.

The state also allows horse racing when wagered through the pari-mutuel system. This means the entire pot (minus management expenses) is divided among the winners in proportion to how much they bet. Simulcast betting and betting between tracks are also allowed. Raffles can also be held as long as it is managed by a charitable organization. Currently, there are six tracks one can choose from and several off-track betting sites as well. However, other games of chance are considered illegal.

The state defines gambling as wagering in any way so one can receive a reward in any game, event, or race. Note that the game does not need to involve chance, betting on any normal occasion is even illegal when held in a large scale. Other activities that are related to gambling are also prohibited. This includes bookmaking and pool-making, which are forms of keeping bets for a certain event or race. Social gambling is also illegal since the Maryland Code clearly states that occupying a building, a land-or water-based vessel, or a house for the purpose of gambling is prohibited.

In some states where casinos are banned, new slots machines can be owned easily by residents. In Maryland though, owning of slots are still illegal unless if the machine is at least 25 years old. This is because certain eligible organizations are actually given permission to operate a limited number of slot machines in certain counties that have the ocean as their borders.

There is a debate on whether Internet gambling can be allowed in the state since the code does not clearly express anything against betting online. However, having no specific law does not automatically mean one can gamble at the comfort of his own home. It is advised that one contact the authorities before making a move to prevent getting a heavy penalty.

Recent advancements by Native American tribes on the development of gambling and casinos in a state have been promising. However, there are no Native American reservations officially recognized by the federal government. There have been several key proponents of operating casinos in the state, but all have been met with strong opposition. As such, visitors and residents alike only have one way to legally pursue their gambling entertainment needs: that is to travel to neighboring states of Maryland that allow gambling.

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