Maryland witnesses ‘pent-up demand’ as November handle exceeds $219m

Mobile and retail sports wagering handle in the month of November for Maryland totalled just over $219m in just nine days of operations. 

With the launch of seven mobile platforms and a new retail location, which held eight hours of controlled demonstration wagering on November 21, the state’s combined handle was $219.071m while mobile sports wagering handle came in at $186.08m. 

That amount included $63,835,319 in free promotional play, which is provided to customers by sportsbooks and is deducted from the taxable win. This has resulted in mobile wagering accounting for $4.26m in contributions to the state in its first nine days. During that period, retail provided $32.98m.

“We expect mobile sportsbook operators to continue to offer a lot of promotional wagers in the coming months as they venture into a new market and work to attract customers,” said John Martin, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director.

“There was tremendous pent-up demand, and a lot of people are utilising promotional offers from multiple operators simultaneously. 

“But as many of the operators have acknowledged, this level of promotional play is not sustainable, and based on our regulations, it will be curtailed over time.”

Each month, sports wagering licensees contribute 15 per cent of its taxable win to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, which supports public education programmes. Since its inception in December 2021 the Fund has seen $6.12m in cumulative contributions.

Maryland’s sports wagering regulations do not limit the amount of a sportsbook’s promotional play in its first full fiscal year of operation. However, after the first full fiscal year, regulations require that a sportsbook’s promotional play amount may not exceed 20 per cent of its taxable win from the prior year.

Martin added: “Deducting promotional play obviously has an impact on the bottom line, and that’s why we have a cap that takes effect after each operator’s first full fiscal year.

“It protects the state’s interests and ensures that sports wagering will generate revenue for education, as intended. By awarding large amounts of promotional play in their first fiscal year, the sportsbooks’ promo play amounts will be limited in their second year.”

Maryland’s sports wagering market launched in December 2021 with the opening of five retail sportsbooks. Four retail locations and seven mobile sportsbooks have launched in 2022, and additional retail locations and mobile sportsbooks are expected to launch in the near future.

Maryland had nine retail sportsbook facilities and seven mobile sportsbooks operating during November 2022. The ninth retail location, Long Shot’s in Frederick, opened on November 18.