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Maryland Gambling Laws

Gambling has a long history in Maryland, most notably with the rich horse racing tradition. The Preakness Stakes, one third of the hallowed Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing, is held every year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. But that's not the only place wagering happens in Maryland.

Maybe you host a weekly poker game or maybe you’re throwing $20 into your office March Madness pool, hoping the Terrapins make the Final Four. Whether in your kitchen or at a casino, Maryland’s gaming and gambling laws cover all of these activities. So here's a brief overview of gambling laws in Maryland.

Maryland Gambling Laws at Glance

While certain types of gambling are illegal and prosecuted under each state's gaming statutes, many states have relaxed some of their gambling statutes and permitted limited casinos and other gaming venues like card rooms. While Maryland gambling laws allow betting on horse racing, most other types of gambling are prohibited in the state. Bona fide contests of skill are legal, as are bingo, raffles, and other charitable games.

The specifics of Maryland gambling laws are listed in the table below.

Code Section 27-240; BR 11-101 et seq., BR §10-502
Gambling Wagering or betting in any manner to receive something of value dependent upon the result of any race, contest or contingency.
Horse Racing/Off-Track Betting Thoroughbred and harness racing legal. Pari-mutuel betting; intertrack betting; and satellite simulcast betting allowed.
Dog Racing/Off-Track Betting Not specified.
Casinos Allowed? Occupying any house, building or vessel on land or water for the purpose of gambling prohibited. Slot machines legal in certain counties.
Other Kinds of Gambling-Related Activities Allowed or Banned Bookmaking; pool-making; jai alai illegal. Games of entertainment, e.g. bingo and raffles, including bona fide political committee raffles and raffles of real property by charitable organizations. Supplier of motor fuel may not use games of chance, only retail service stations.

Gambling generally includes everything from casinos to racetracks to state lotteries and is regulated by a combination of state and federal laws. States like Maryland that permit gambling generally have government divisions or gaming commissions that control industry practices, such as licensing employees and regulating the games and finances. Most states will provide strict zoning regulations to separate racetracks and casinos from schools and residential areas. At the federal level, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act regulates all gambling establishments on Indian reservations.

Maryland Gambling Laws: Related Resources

State gaming regulations can be different from state to state and can change over time. If you would like legal advice regarding a gaming matter, you can contact a Maryland gaming law attorney in your area. You can also visit FindLaw’s Gaming Law section for more articles and resources on this topic.

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