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Maryland Online Poker & Gambling Laws

Maryland Online PokerMaryland has aggressively fought against internet gambling. They have gone so far as to set up phony e-wallets to catch online betting companies. They handed down indictments to two of these betting sites in 2011. [1]

Thus far, it looks like Maryland is mainly interested in shutting down the operations. We don’t know of any cases where and individual has been charged for gambling online. The laws in Maryland do not mention internet gambling, but their stance on it implies that the state considers it to be illegal.

Can Players From Maryland Play Poker Online?

This simple answer to this is yes. There are still a few sites that accept players from Maryland. Since Maryland has been so aggressive in trying to catch sites that are still taking real money transactions from US players, many sites that still accept players from the US have stopped taking players from Maryland. At this moment you can choose from any of the top US poker sites on our homepage.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Maryland?

We have searched through the statutes of Maryland, and we have found no law that specifically mentions internet gambling. We do know that Maryland has taken a stance against the sites that offer online gaming in their state. It is assumed that Maryland considers gambling online illegal. Some of the statutes could pertain to internet gambling even though they do not specifically say internet gambling.

We have highlighted some of the Maryland statutes pertaining to gambling below:

  • Maryland does not have a definition for gambling. Instead, the laws referring to gambling use the phrases game of chance, wagering, and betting. This could mean that betting of any kind is illegal in Maryland unless it is specifically stated to be legal.
  • The Maryland laws go further with their gambling law in Criminal Law Code Ann. § 12-101 which refers to gaming devices – Gaming device” means: a gaming table, except a billiard table, at which a game of chance is played for money or any other thing or consideration of value; or a game or device at which money or any other thing or consideration of value is bet, wagered, or gambled. [2]
  • Maryland laws vary from county to county.
  • Social poker games are not mentioned in specifically in the laws of Maryland, but many of the laws lead us to believe that they may be considered illegal.

The terms that Maryland uses to describe illegal gambling are very broad. Maryland has harsh punishments for people that violate these laws. Maryland has taken a stand against the operators in the past. Maryland has not taken a stand against players that participate in online games as of yet, but the punishments are the same for operators and participants in the game under the law in Maryland. We suggest that you contact your lawyer before playing games online if you are concerned with the legality.

Maryland Gambling History

Maryland has flopped back and forth on the legality of gambling since the early 1940s. The state has legalized slots and made them illegal several times. The first legalized gambling in the state of Maine was in the 1860s. Betting on the horse races at Pimlico Race Course was the beginning of a sordid history in the legality of gambling in Maryland.

As we mentioned earlier Maryland has had a long history of legalizing and then making slots illegal. The first slot games were legalized in 1943 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Several counties in Maryland followed with legalization of slots to improve their finances. Then in 1950 the interstate shipment of slots was banned by Congress unless the state sought an exemption. Maryland did not seek and exemption, but in 1958 a slot machine manufacturer relocated to Maryland to supply the counties with slot machines.

Many people became rich in Maryland from the slot business, but there were rumors of corruption, underage drinking, and underage gambling in the establishments. Several newspaper articles made these allegations public and forced the government of Maryland to take notice. The state banned slot machines and chose to phase them out between the years of 1965-1968. Establishments had to decrease the number of machines they had each year and then completely get rid of them by 1968.

In 1972, Maryland voters approved a lottery, and it was launched in 1973. The lottery had scratch off tickets that were similar to slot games in the minds of many people in Maryland. [3] Today, Maryland has 4 casinos that offer slot games along with a full variety of other casino games. Maryland also has charitable bingo games around the state.

Legalized Gambling Options in Maryland

Maryland has strict laws when it comes to gambling illegally, but you should have no problems finding legal options for gambling in the state. There are 4 casinos that operate around the clock that offer slot games, poker, blackjack, and just about any casino game you can think of. There are more casinos under construction in the state.

You can legally gamble in all counties in Maryland by playing the lottery. The lottery offers scratch off tickets where you can instantly win. You can also bet on horses at various race tracks around the state. Lastly, charitable bingo halls can be found in almost every county in Maryland. So, as you can see you have plenty of options when it comes to gambling in Maryland.

Will Maryland Legalize Online Poker in the Future?

It seems unlikely that Maryland will legalize online poker in the near future. Maryland has taken a very harsh stance against online gambling operators. Maryland has a history of changing their stance on gambling issues, and this may end up being the case with online gambling but we don’t think that will happen any time soon.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ Maryland Targets Gambling Sites
  2. Jump up ^ Maryland Statutes
  3. Jump up ^ Maryland Slot Game History
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