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“Nationals October 2019

A snapshot of games of chance in Maryland

| September 01, 2020, 03:48 PM

Different states across the US have varying rules for games of chance. Some are very restrictive. Others are very liberal. And still others hold them to specific cities or to specific people (think Indigenous). And while Maryland has had an up and down relationship with games of chance, there are plenty of opportunities to responsibly scratch that itch.

Lottery Keno and Racetrax

One of the most basic forms of gambling is the lottery. The Maryland State Lottery administers several games of chance from number games with multiple drawings a week to the scratch off games available at retailers throughout the state. And due to the popularity of the national lotteries, Maryland even has partnerships with the multi-state Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries.

If you like the ponies (more on them later) but don’t like the track, Racetrax may be for you. Many restaurants and most bars and some retailers in Maryland offer this form of video gaming where the virtual horses race for real money.  Or look to Keno and try to match the random numbers that appear on the screen around the clock (sort of a glorified bingo with a cash payout). Both Racetrax and Keno are also available to play in your pocket with a smart phone!

Liquified Creative Annapolis


Of course there is traditional gambling, from sports betting to casinos and poker. While sports betting is not legal in Maryland, you should see some changes to that in the future.  A house bill has been proposed that would allow the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to be the regulation body – a bill had been passed in March which would legalize sports betting for the six Maryland casinos as well as a number of race tracks and possibly a stadium partnership. But the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put a bit of a delay on proceedings. But expect to see movement here with the fiscal state of Maryland due to COVID and the fact that neighboring states such as New Jersey are boasting more than $4.58 billion in wagers last year. There’s certainly an incentive to make the adjustment.

The popularity of online betting and casinos is quickly rising across the US and in neighbouring states where it is legal to gamble online, the increasing pressure and popularity alongside the economic value attached may be what causes a change to be made with many believing the first step could be to make online poker legal in the near future. If this comes to pass, you will see many platforms such as Legalbetting.com offering real money online casinos for players from the comfort of your home or the convenience of your smart device. Online platforms typically offer bonuses and special offers along America’s favorite casino games, such as video poker, roulette and of course blackjack. There’s nothing concrete on the passage of online poker legislation anytime soon, but based on the economy, that change may be made sooner rather than later. 

Remember, Maryland has already seen huge successes with one of these changes back in 2012 with the introduction of legal fantasy (sports) games – as one of the first states to legalize fantasy leagues, Maryland was certainly able to capitalize on the huge fanbase that came with the growth. And the numbers here are pretty huge, it was expected that fantasy leagues had a market size of around $5.2bn in 2012, the following years would see that almost double to $8.4bn in 2019 growing just shy of 5% per year on average.

Horse Racing

Finally, the other popular means of gaming entertainment in Maryland has been at the three horse racing tracks in the state—Pimlico, Laurel and Rosecroft. Pimlico is located in Baltimore and has long provided some top class racing, such as hosting the Preakness Stakes, which is usually the middle leg of the Triple crown. This year, it is the third leg (October 3) with the Belmont leading the way, followed by the Kentucky Derby. Most tracks in Maryland had to close due to the pandemic which further led fans to moving online for their entertainment needs.

While there will be no fans in attendance at any races in the immediate future, the tracks are all working with authorities to implement CDC recommended precautions to keep everyone safe as they did with the in-person casinos.  After all, no one wants to play a game of chance with their life!

Severn Bank

Category: Local News, NEWS

About the Author - Stephanie Maris

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland and most recently a wife and a mother. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages.

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