Legal Online Poker in Maryland

This article will explore the legality of online and land-based poker in Maryland and the state’s current stance on gambling as a whole.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Avatar Author Adrian Sterne
Fact checked by Dusan Jovanovic

Compared to other states, Maryland’s gambling laws are not too strict — in fact, Little America permits many forms of gambling, including casino gaming, horse racing, lottery, charitable gaming, and sports betting.

Fortunately for poker players, Maryland residents can legally enjoy this game at six brick-and-mortar casinos. However, the same cannot be said for online poker since the state has yet to regulate it. Still, that doesn’t mean poker players are left high and dry.

This article will explore the legality of online and land-based poker in Maryland and the state’s current stance on gambling as a whole.

Maryland has a long gambling history, especially given its horse racing heritage. Colonial gentlemen used to show off their wealth through horse racing long before the US was formed. The first horse racing club, the Maryland Jockey Club, was founded in Annapolis in 1743. It was the first sports association in the US.

In 1791, the Free State started allowing the lottery, but the proceeds had to be used for public works. Although churches ran lotteries at that time, that didn’t stop people from cheating and being involved in various fraud schemes. Therefore, the state stopped issuing lottery licenses in 1834 and banned them completely in 1860.

Maryland decided to legalize pari-mutuel wagering, and in 1920, the Maryland Racing Commission began overseeing those activities. Even today, there are two tracks in operation — Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Downs.

The 1940s saw the legalization of slot machines, but only in a few southern Maryland counties. This was the only place outside of Nevada where people could play slot games. Nevertheless, even though they were practically everywhere (at gas stations and in corner stores), the state banned them in 1968.

There were many attempts to legalize the lottery again. Finally, it was reintroduced in 1972. After that, not much happened on the gambling scene for a few decades. Almost 50 years later, in 2008, voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing land-based casinos to be constructed. The first one saw the light of day in 2010, and five more opened over the next six years. All of them offer multiple poker games, and most feature poker rooms.

On top of that, the state also permits charitable gaming, allowing charities to offer bingo, raffles, wheel of fortune, and paddlewheels. Charities must register with local authorities to be able to host games. Bingo rules are pretty liberal, but raffles can be organized only twice per year.

Maryland lawmakers also legalized home poker games by passing HB 127 in 2016. This law applies to other table games as well. If you are 21 or above, you can host a home poker session with friends, provided you abide by specific stipulations.

Maryland has no specific regulations regarding online gambling and poker rooms, so these activities are a gray area in terms of legality. As a result, many poker enthusiasts turn to offshore casinos.

Poker Laws

LawTo understand Maryland’s legal framework better, we advise you to go through the following laws before you start playing real money poker.

Best Legal Poker Rooms in Maryland

The following sections will discuss where you can play online and land-based poker in Maryland. My list of the best poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2024:
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Land-Based Poker in Maryland

Maryland voters approved brick-and-mortar casinos in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2010 that the first establishment, Hollywood Casino Perryville, was built. The following year Ocean Downs was established. Live! Casino Hotel came along in 2012, Rocky Gap Casino Hotel in 2013, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in 2014, and MGM National Harbor in 2016.

All of them offer games typically found in Nevada or New Jersey. However, it wasn’t like that initially; when the first casino opened, it could only offer slot games. Poker rooms and other table games were added in 2013.

Currently, these gambling halls attract a large number of poker fans and offer a wide array of titles. Plus, they organize frequent tournaments.

How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in Maryland

Poker players from Maryland who want to explore international casinos’ offers can register with some of the providers we have recommended on this page. The sign up process is simple:

Choose an online poker site

by scrolling up to the top of this page.


Head to its official website or alternatively, you can click on the provided link, which will take you directly to the operator’s site. Clicking the Join/Register/Sign Up button.

Input all the required information and submit your request.

Verify your account if this step is required. Then, you can log in.

Deposit & Play

Open the Cashier section and choose the banking method you typically use. Make a deposit. The transaction will be processed instantly.

Load the game lobby and choose any game you like. Good luck!

Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker

The Free State has six land-based casinos located in six counties. They are commercial and under the Maryland Lottery’s supervision, meaning there are no Native American gambling venues in the state.

Almost all of them have dedicated poker rooms with 5 to 55 tables. You can always find some poker action there, as they offer daily and weekly tournaments. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore features the premier WSOP room hosting WSOP satellite events and many other competitions. Additionally, the World Poker Tour has made numerous WPTDeepStacks stops at Live! Casino and Hotel over the years. This renowned casino is also the host of the Maryland State Poker Championship.

Poker enthusiasts from Maryland can enjoy an array of titles, including Three-Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Mississippi Stud, High Card Flush, Heads-Up Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Five-Card Omaha and a few others.

But poker is not the only game you can play there. You will have numerous slot, video poker, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and craps games at your disposal. It’s worth noting that the tax rate on slot games is the highest in the state (67%), while it is 20% on live poker and other table games.

Aside from large gaming floors, these casinos offer accommodation, restaurants for fine and casual dining with local and international cuisines, friendly staff, and numerous other indoor and outdoor amenities. Some are even open 24/7.

If you like playing live poker, visit the following brick-and-mortar venues:

Other Resources

Final Thoughts

Interstate online poker is currently out of reach for Maryland citizens. However, the situation might change in the future, considering the fact that Maryland is surrounded by four states that have legalized online poker. The MD lawmakers will probably consider legalizing online poker one day after seeing the revenue generated by other states’ expanded online gaming options.

Another thing that gives us hope that online poker can become a reality is the liberalization of the state’s general anti-gambling laws in 2019 and the legalization of sports betting in 2021.


Is online poker legal in Maryland?

No, it isn’t. Since Maryland only legalized off-track betting over the internet and on mobile phones, those who want to play poker must visit poker rooms at land-based casinos, on sweepstakes sites, or on offshore gambling platforms.

Which offshore gambling platforms accept MD players?

Maryland residents should be able to register and play poker at any US-friendly international gambling platform.

What is the legal gambling age in Maryland?

The minimum gambling age for casino gambling is 21. When it comes to lotteries, charitable gaming, and racing, it is 18.

Are casinos legal in Maryland?

They are. Maryland has six commercial casinos offering a variety of slot and table games. Additionally, players can enjoy many poker titles, and most casinos have poker rooms.

Can a Maryland resident play real money poker at offshore casinos?

Of course. The state doesn’t mention anything about playing poker at international sites in its statutes. In fact, it doesn’t target individual players but is focused on those who want to run the games within the state borders. So, players can play poker on offshore sites without fear of prosecution.

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