Maryland officially legalized sports betting on Nov. 23. (Courtesy of the Washington Nationals via Twitter)
Maryland officially legalized sports betting on Nov. 23. (Courtesy of the Washington Nationals via Twitter)

On Nov. 23, online sports betting became officially legal in Maryland. State revenue from sports betting will be a critical funding piece for the upcoming Blueprint for Education, and the early frenzy of activity on these apps is likely to surpass projected annual revenue.

Now that online betting is legal, advertisements for each different app have permeated social media and television commercials, particularly Twitter as many advertisers have fled the site in recent weeks. Many of these commercials showcase the perks for signing up, such as free bets. DraftKings offers a $50 free bet and 20% deposit bonus, while BetMGM offers a $1,000 risk-free bet and FanDuel offers $200 in free bets. 

The existing gaming houses are DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, FanDuel, PointsBet and BetRivers. There are currently nine retail gaming locations, including the MGM National Harbor.

Three licenses were granted to operators that were not ready for launch on the opening day of legalized gambling: Betfred, Fanatics and BetPARX. On Dec.1, Bally’s Interactive and WynnBet were approved for mobile wagering licenses during a meeting of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission. On Dec, 14, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission will approve or deny their license. 

According to the sports betting website Gaming Today, up to 60 sports betting apps and 47 retail gaming locations are expected to operate in Maryland by “full maturity” of the new industry.

Across the seven existing mobile sports betting apps, 477,365 unique accounts were made by users and over 16.5 million transactions were placed during the first four days. This was measured by GeoComply, a geolocation serving service that ensures that bettors are physically in Maryland as bets are placed. Over 3.7 million transactions were placed on Thanksgiving Day alone. Across that same time period, Maryland transactions were roughly double those of Virginia, a state with 1.5 million more residents, and approximately quadruple those of Colorado, with a similar population to Maryland. 

When asked about why they choose to participate in sports betting, an anonymous bettor said “It gives someone the opportunity to turn an active interest in sports into money using a keen eye and critical thinking skills! Even if you aren’t interested in sports, there’s still a level of excitement from being able to guess something right and get paid back for it.”
Money earned from online betting is subject to state and federal taxes. If your annual winnings are less than $1,000, the state tax rate is 2%, while it is 3% for $1-2,000 in winnings. The federal tax on online betting is 24%. Unless your winnings are over $500, the IRS’ W-2G tax form and the state Form 502D are not sent automatically and you may have to calculate your own tax payments. More information on Maryland state taxes regarding gambling winnings is available online at marylandtaxes.gov.

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