Poll Finds Strong, Widespread Support for Maryland Online Poker Poll Finds Strong, Widespread Support for Maryland Online Poker

Marylanders want real money online poker. And if they could vote for it to be legal today, they would — and the vote wouldn’t be close.

That’s according to a new poll that found nearly 70% of likely voters in Maryland support the idea of expanding igaming in the state to include Maryland online poker and casino gaming.

The poll — aka the Maryland NOW Survey, which was conducted in early November by Victoria Research, a polling and research firm based in Tacoma Park — asked respondents the following question:

In Maryland you can only legally wager on casino games such as poker, blackjack, roulette, or slots by traveling to casinos. This means people who play online use illegal gambling websites that pay no taxes to the state. Meanwhile, in six states where online gaming is currently available, state governments collected just over $1 billion from it in 2022. Do you think adults in Maryland should be allowed to place wagers online, enabling the state to collect millions of dollars annually without raising taxes?

Victoria Research found a combined 69% of respondents support expanded igaming. That included 38% who said they “strongly support” the idea and an additional 31% who “somewhat support” it.

Opposition was there, but it was much smaller — with 9% “somewhat opposed” and 10% “strongly opposed.” Twelve percent of respondents said they weren’t sure if they supported expanded igaming.

“There was a general receptivity to anything that could expand the business and economic footprint of Maryland,” Donna Victoria, founder of Victoria Research, told the non-profit news outlet Maryland Matters earlier this month.

A Good Sign for Next November

The overwhelming support is good news — especially if Maryland voters are asked whether igaming should be expanded at the next election, which will be conducted on November 5, 2024. State lawmakers must still decide whether to put the question before voters.

Under Maryland law, the voting public has the final say on gaming expansion. They backed the idea of offering sports wagering in 2020 — consequently, retail sportsbooks opened in the state in 2021 and a successful mobile sports betting market took off in November 2022.

If a vote is held in November 2024, look for MD online poker and online casino gaming to launch sometime after that — likely in 2025 at the earliest. Operators will likely have to go through a soft launch period with oversight by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA), the state regulator.

Support for Expanded Igaming Widespread

The poll found support for expanded igaming was widespread, cutting across political and racial lines.

Majorities of Republicans (66%), and independent and third party voters (also 66%) said they supported having online poker and online casino gaming in the Old Line State. Likewise, 71% of Democrats were also in support. The firm found widespread support among several cohorts, including men, women, white voters, Black voters, and Latino/Hispanic voters.

Maryland Matters reported that the poll was commissioned by Perry, White, Ross, & Jacobson, an Annapolis-based lobbying firm with ties to Democratic officials in state government. That tracks, since 63% of Democratic voters from Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland, support expanded igaming to include online poker and casino gaming.

According to Victoria Research, a statewide sample of 813 likely voters for the upcoming 2024 election were surveyed online between November 9 and 14. The survey has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5%.