Can I Play Online Poker in Maryland?
Yes! While Maryland hasn’t passed any online poker legislation to start building a state-wide poker platform, there are plenty of sites that accept players from Maryland. The Senate did pass a sports betting bill in early March 2020 though and voters approved it that November. This gaming expansion bodes well for online poker, and what’s more encouraging is that it passed unanimously. The Maryland Senate voted 47-0 on SB 4. The bill legalizes sports betting at live sportsbooks and also allows for online sports betting.
Operators would have to pay 20 percent tax on revenue and the live locations include the state’s six casinos and three race tracks. There are options for more locations, like the Washington Football Team stadium. With sports betting now a reality in the world of online gambling Maryland, we’ll see if online poker starts making some progress.
Online Poker and the Law in Maryland
Maryland allows for a fair bit of gaming. Slot machines are legal in some counties, they have horse racing, and they have six casinos in the state. Gambling is covered under the Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Title 12, Subtitle 1, Section 1-102. Under the state statute, Maryland defines gambling as:
“Wagering or betting in any manner to receive something of value dependent upon the result of any race, contest or contingency.”
This is an interesting definition that differs from most states. A common definition of gambling for states includes the word “chance.” Here we see that Maryland qualifies betting as something depending on “any race, contest or contingency.” This casts the net pretty wide and could encompass poker, since a lot on the game relies on contingencies. All that means is that poker would be covered in this statute, and is something the legislators would address if they regulate online poker.
You can play live poker at Maryland’s casinos and the casinos would offer sports betting if legalized. This would also include online sports betting. This means the casinos could be open to online poker legislation if it comes up. Maryland’s neighbors are also on the online poker train. Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia have all legalized online poker. The only state that Maryland shares a border with that hasn’t legalized it is Virginia.
Hopefully, online poker legislation is contagious and Maryland is the next one to catch the bug.
Best Maryland Online Poker Sites
The best sites available to US poker players are also available to players in Maryland. The sites below are the ones we’d recommend for any Marylanders looking for a quality online poker site with great player pools, cash games and tournaments. If you want more details, just click on the site for a full review and pick the one that works best for you:
Top Maryland Poker Players
There are plenty of great poker players from the Old Line State. The 2012 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Merson, 2013 One Drop High Roller Champion Anthony Gregg and 2017 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event Champion Christian Harder both hail from Maryland. Here are the top 15 earning poker players from Maryland according to Hendon Mob:
1: Anthony Gregg – $11,979,691
2: Gregory Merson – $11,428,359
3: Steven Dannenmann – $4,827,428
4: Christian Harder – $4,588,647
5: John Brock Parker – $3,813,876
6: Justin Liberto – $3,722,243
7: Daniel Kelly – $3,620,193
8: Rhett Butler – $3,367,469
9: Philip Galfond – $2,966,023
10: Jesse Yaginuma – $1,936,770
11: Clifford Goldkind – $1,280,255
12: Chris Lee – $1,131,827
13: Joshua Pollock – $1,096,882
14: Chase Bianchi – $846,701
15: Jesse Chinni – $792,00
How to Stay Safe Playing on Maryland Online Poker Sites
We’ve extensively reviewed the sites mentioned above, but we know that you might stumble upon different poker sites during your career. If that’s the case, we recommend following a few things that we cover in our poker reviews page. There we list the seven most important things to look for in poker sites, those are:
Safety & security
Quality of opponent
Volume of players
Legal Gambling in Maryland
Online gambling in Maryland is ultimately decided by voters. Voters approved sports betting in 2020 and back in 2012 they expanded gaming too. In 2012 voters approved one more casino and let existing casinos offer table games. The registered voters approved Question 7 by a 51.9% yes, and 48.1% no.
Maryland’s current casinos are:
- Hollywood Casino Perryville – Maryland’s first gaming facility which opened on September 27, 2010. They feature 1,500 slot machines, a casual restaurant, and parking for 1,600.
- Ocean Downs – Opened on January 4, 2011. They have 34,000 square feet of gaming space and 750 slot machines.
- Maryland Live! – Opened on June 6, 2012. They feature 4,750 slot machines, a live music venue, several restaurants and almost 5,000 parking spaces.
- Rocky Gap Lodge & Resort – Opened on May 23, 2013.
- Horseshoe Baltimore – Opened on August 27, 2014 with 15,000 visitors, 5,000 more than anticipated. However, even with their opening day success, the casino has brought in 34% less revenue ($22.4 million) than predicted in its early stages.
- MGM National Harbor – Opened Dec. 8, 2016. A $1.2 billion development measuring 135,000 sq ft with 308 rooms.
Slot Referendum and a State Lottery
In a 2008 constitutional referendum, voters approved of up to 15,000 video lottery terminals at casinos. The state retains 67% of all revenue generated by the slot machines, among the highest percentage in the United States.
Proceeds of slots are distributed as follows:
- 49.25% – Maryland Education Trust Fund
- 33% – Video lottery terminals facility operators
- 7% – Horse racing purse account (not to exceed $100 million per year)
- 5.5% – Local impact grants
- 1.75% – Race track facilities renewal account (for the first 8 years not to exceed $40 million per year)
- 2% – Maryland Lottery to partially finance the costs of regulation
- 1.5% – Small, minority and women-owned businesses
Maryland has also offered a lottery since 1973. That was passed by a voter amendment too. In 2015, it had a revenue of $1.762 billion and has experienced steady growth since the start. Seems like there’s no gaming expansion voters won’t approve. We hope to see poker on that list soon. We’ll keep you update if it does.
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Frequently Asked Questions
While Maryland might allow PokerStars in like neighboring Pennsylvania sometime soon, you currently can’t play poker on PokerStars in Maryland. If you don’t want to drive to nearby Pennsylvania or New Jersey to open an account and play, you have some options. There are plenty of great PokerStars alternatives for poker players in Maryland.
We’ve reviewed several sites that accept players from all 50 states, including Maryland. Our Ignition Poker review and Americas Cardroom found guaranteed prize pools, tournament specials and great rakeback that make them pretty good PokerStars alternatives.
Yes! Many of the sites we mentioned above accept Bitcoin as a way to deposit and withdraw. This is always site-dependent though, so be sure to check your site’s banking options to see if they accept Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is usually the fastest way to both put your money and take your money out of poker sites, so if this is important to you, check out the sites we listed above.
Yes! All the sites we’ve reviewed have Mac-specific software or sites. Again though, this varies site to site, so always look at their software to see if it’s compatible with your device. There are plenty of different software options too like mobile gaming.
Every site we’ve mentioned and every one we’ve ever played has play money options so you can start playing for free. All you have to do is sign up for an account and you don’t have to give any banking information. This lets you hone your skills for free. Many sites also have freeroll tournaments that have cash rewards. That means you can win actual cash and start building your bankroll for free.
There aren’t any specific bonuses for players from Maryland that we’ve seen, but there are plenty of bonuses available to all poker players. The most generous typically go to new players, but plenty of sites offer reload bonuses and more. Check out our bonus page for more information.