Maryland has land-based casinos, plus mobile and retail sports betting. The question of whether it should also have online poker and online casinos could go to voters in 2024. If the vote passes, markets could launch in 2025.
Last updated: January 26, 2024
Maryland could become the next state with real money online poker in the US.
Voters have the final say on gaming expansion, and to date they have voted three times to do so.
With their first vote in 2008, Marylanders gave their OK to five commercial land-based casinos. They agreed to a sixth casino with their second vote in 2012, and signed off on mobile and retail sports betting with the third vote in 2020.
Nothing suggests online poker and online casino gaming won’t be next, with a possible vote in 2024.
The largest newspaper in the state published an editorial urging lawmakers to move slowly on expanding gaming, citing the potential harm to individuals with a gambling problem. But the newspaper also suggested, as a compromise, launching online poker in Maryland but not casino — a proposition that would see online poker expand but where the state would make far less money.
Updates on online poker in Maryland will be posted here, so be sure to check back!
Not yet, but we expect that it will become available soon!
Maryland voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2008 to allow five land-based commercial casinos in the state (FYI, there are no tribal casinos in Maryland). A sixth casino was authorized in 2012. Voters approved sports betting in 2020 — retail sportsbooks first opened their doors in 2021, and mobile wagering launched in November 2022.
If Maryland lawmakers decide to expand igaming to include online poker and casino gaming, they will likely seek to put the question on the ballot for voters in November 2024. The markets would then likely launch sometime in 2025 at the earliest.
|Online Poker in Maryland: Key Facts
|Not currently legal. Voters could be asked for their approval in 2024.
|📅 Date Legalized
|👥 State Population
|6.2 Million (ranks 19th)
|🔥 Potential MD Poker Rooms
|BetMGM Poker MD, PokerStars MD, Run It Once Poker MD, WSOP MD
|🏆 Potential MD Tournaments
|PokerStars US Championship of Online Poker (USCOOP), WSOP Gold Ring Online Circuit Series & Gold Bracelet Series. Additional series expected through Run It Once.
|⚖️ Regulated By
|Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA)
|🔞 Legal Age to Gamble
Gaming officially kicked off in the Old Line State in November 2008. That’s when voters approved a constitutional amendment that authorized five commercial casinos. Voters approved a sixth casino in 2012.
Maryland voters gave their approval for sports betting in 2020. That same year, legislation that proposed repealing parts of the 2008 amendment — specifically, to return authority on gaming matters to the Maryland General Assembly — died in committee; voters still retain that power.
Considering that Marylanders have voted to expand gaming in the state three times in the last 15 years, it seems plausible that they will also approve online poker and online casino gaming — provided lawmakers put the question on the ballot for November 2024. The incremental approach to expanding gaming seems to be working just fine with Maryland voters.
Supporters of expanded igaming found plenty of things to like in a report commissioned by state regulators. The report by The Innovation Group projected that online casino gaming and poker would generate $533.4 million in revenue in 2026 — increasing to $904.9 million when the market matures in 2029.
Perhaps more importantly, the researchers suggested that Maryland join a multi-state compact to support online poker. They provided details about the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), which includes five states — Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
MSIGA allows operators to combine their player pools across multiple states, creating shared liquidity to support larger tournaments and bigger prizes. Membership in a gaming compact like MSIGA is considered essential for online poker to succeed in a new market.
Because Maryland ranks 19th in terms of population with 6.2 million residents, it’s likely that the state would want to join MSIGA in order to give online poker in the state a boost. For that to happen, lawmakers would have to include language in the state’s gaming laws to specifically allow the state to join a multi-state gaming compact like MSIGA.
Without membership in MSIGA, Maryland could become a state like Pennsylvania — where online poker is legal, but where operators and players alike are also missing out on the bigger tournaments and prizes that Pennsylvania’s membership in MSIGA could bring through shared liquidity.
If Maryland were to join MSIGA, pressure would likely mount on Pennsylvania, it’s neighbor to the north, to do the same. The Keystone State has real money online poker but is not a member of MSIGA. With Maryland in the club, Pennsylvania would be surrounded on three sides by members of the compact. At that point, PA’s online poker operators might prod Governor Josh Shapiro to have Pennsylvania join, too.
Membership in MSIGA puts Maryland into play as a multi-poker state.
With 6.2 million residents, Maryland would be a mid-size member of MSIGA — it would be larger than Delaware (1 million residents), Nevada (3.2 million), and West Virginia (1.8 million), but smaller than Michigan (10 million) and New Jersey (9.3 million).
Four poker operators — BetMGM, PokerStars, WSOP, and Run It Once Poker — would likely be very interested in launching in the state. Each operator also appears to have an easy path to obtaining market access since each is partnered with a land-based casino for mobile sports betting.
Under a scenario where we see a massive expansion in multi-state poker, BetMGM and WSOP could each create four-state networks, while Run It Once could conceivably run across five. PokerStars appears most likely to expand to a three-state network, but a larger one is possible.
|Potential MD Partnership
|Would likely operate under the land-based license of Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland, since FanDuel is its partner for sports betting. (Flutter owns both brands).
|A three-state network of MD-MI-NJ seems the most prudent.
|BetMGM Poker US
|A no-brainer — the operator will partner with MGM National Harbor, the largest casino for revenue in Maryland and outside of Nevada.
|The operator will likely want to create a four-state network across MD-MI-NJ-NV. It still needs to combine its MI and NJ player pools.
|Another easy-to-predict match-up — both WSOP and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore are owned by Caesars.
|A four-state network that includes MD-MI-NJ-NV seems most likely, especially after losing access to DE.
|Run It Once Poker US
|A poker platform in development by Rush Street Interactive (RSI). RSI’s flagship brand, BetRivers, is live in MD with sports betting through a partnership with Bingo World.
|RSI will probably aim to create a four-state network that includes DE-MD-MI-NJ. They could also add a fifth state to the network, WV.
PokerStars would presumably have access to the Maryland market by operating under the land-based license of Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland.
FanDuel is partnered with Live! for sports betting. Both FanDuel and PokerStars are brands owned by Flutter Entertainment.
Recent moves by PokerStars US show it is focused on building a vibrant online poker network nationwide, and Maryland would likely fit into those plans. Consider that PokerStars combined its player pools in Michigan and New Jersey on January 1, 2023, and expressed interest in deploying in West Virginia right after the state joined MSIGA.
BetMGM is another potential Maryland online poker operator and could be the most likely one. That’s because its land-based casino partner would be MGM National Harbor, the largest casino in terms of revenue in Maryland and outside of Nevada, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).
The operator currently offers mobile sports betting under the MGM National Harbor license. It also has a retail sportsbook at the property.
BetMGM runs online poker rooms in Michigan and New Jersey but hasn’t yet combined those player pools. The operator announced in a recent business update that shared liquidity was “imminent” but provided no further details.
BetMGM will likely combine its player pools in Michigan and New Jersey to compete with its rivals. Launches in new markets are also possible — the operator has long been rumored to be close to launching online poker in Nevada and has also expressed interest in launching online poker in West Virginia. A five-state BetMGM Poker US network is a real possibility.
WSOP has a clear path to the market in Maryland since the brand and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore are both owned by Caesars.
Caesars Sportsbook currently operates under the Horseshoe license for sports betting but is looking for the company to deploy its Caesars Palace brand for online casino gaming.
WSOP could create a four-state network across MSIGA, with combined poker rooms in Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, and Nevada.
Run It Once is an online poker platform currently in development by Rush Street Interactive (RSI). A launch in US states is expected sometime in early 2024.
RSI deployed its flagship BetRivers brand to Maryland for sports betting under the Bingo World license. Run It Once could also operate under the same license for online poker.
Run It Once Poker could launch operations in Maryland about a year after launching online poker in neighboring Delaware. RSI is replacing 888 as the Delaware Lottery’s exclusive igaming provider.
It’s possible that RSI could establish a maximum five-state network under MSIGA by combining its player pools in Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
No, but we expect that it could be legal soon! Note that in Maryland, voter approval is required on any gaming matters. Voters approved land-based commercial casinos in 2008, then approved sports betting in 2020. Whether to approve online poker and casino gaming in MD could be put before the state’s voters as early as November 2024.
No, online casino gaming is not legal in Maryland. We believe that Maryland voters will be asked to give their approval of online casino gaming as early as November 2024.
Yes, they are! Sweepstakes and social casinos — such as High 5 Casino, Stake.us Casino, Funrize Social Casino, No Limit Coins Social Casino, and TaoFortune Social Casino — are an increasingly popular way to gamble, especially in states that don’t have regulated online gambling. Sweepstakes casinos are perfectly safe and legal to play in Maryland. Check out our in-depth review of sweepstakes casinos!
Not yet, but it’s possible that if MD voters approve online poker in November 2024 (at the earliest), a market could launch sometime in 2025. Operators would likely need permission from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) before launching multi-state poker.
PokerStars is not currently available in MD. Still, the operator is likely very interested in launching there because of the size of the potential market (Maryland ranks 19th in population) and the fact that it would have a clear path to entering the market through its existing partnership with Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland for sports betting.
WSOP is not currently available in Maryland, but we expect that the operator is interested in launching in the state. That’s because the market is a potentially large one (6.2 million residents), and it has access to the market through the land-based casino license of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. The casino and WSOP are both owned by Caesars.
Not yet, but you could be able to do so soon. BetMGM Poker would gain access to the market through the land-based license of MGM National Harbor, which is the largest casino (in terms of revenue) in Maryland and outside of Nevada.
Maryland currently offers mobile and online sports betting through about a dozen sportsbooks. Online poker and online casinos are not legal.
Since offshore poker sites do not offer the same consumer protection level as legal, regulated sites, they are not recommended. Players on offshore sites are at risk of identity theft because they are disclosing their financial and personal information. Federal officials have warned US citizens not to use offshore sites because they have no legal recourse to collect winnings owed to them.
Information on the dangers of US citizens gambling on illegal offshore sites and how to tell if a poker site is legal is available in this guide on Poker Shield.