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Maryland’s Sports Betting Handle Declines in February Despite the Super Bowl Taking Place

Maryland’s legalized sports betting history is relatively short as retail is still the only option for bettors across the state. According to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency report that was posted Thursday, the five retail sportsbook operators brought in a combined total of $25.5 million in wagers for February.

Maryland’s Sports Betting Handle Sees A Decline For February

The state’s sports betting launch initiated in December, and January was a solid month for the jurisdiction. However, February’s sports betting handle decreased most likely due to the lack of NFL betting despite the Super Bowl taking place.

There were other factors as well as the sports schedule doesn’t usually favor the sportsbooks during this time of the year. The NBA and NHL have fewer games due to their All-Star weekends. The Super Bowl was expected to boost the handle, but the average betting volume didn’t increase for the month.

The handle was down 21.5 percent from January’s $32.5 million. Sportsbooks held just 3.7 percent compared to 13.4 percent in January. The national average in regards to the hold percentage is anywhere between five and seven percent.

MGM National Harbor only had a hold of 0.2 percent, Live! Casino 4.9 percent, Horseshoe Baltimore 3.6 percent, Ocean Downs Casino 12.9 percent, and Hollywood Casino Perryville had a hold of 5.7 percent. The average hold for February translated to just $955,377 in revenue.

Bookmakers were able to bring in a combined total of $4,4 million in revenue for January. The underwhelming results led to just $134,628 in taxes for the state. The state is unlikely to see significant growth in its numbers as neighboring states like Virginia have a strong mobile sports wagering market for its residents and other visitors.

Mobile Sports Betting Leads to Significant Growth

Retail sports betting is a good start, but mobile sports betting would be crucial for a market like Maryland. Louisiana first started legalized sports betting, and sportsbook operators posted a total of $27.6 million in wagers for November as the launch took place on Halloween.

February was the first full month of online sports betting for the Bayou State, and the bookmakers combined to bring in a total of $211 million in bets and $40.5 million for the last four days of January, bringing the total to approximately $251.5 million.

As of right now, there are four more retail sportsbooks that are waiting to open soon. This may boost the handle results, but mobile sports gambling would make a significant difference in the handle numbers.

When Will Mobile Sports Betting Begin in Maryland

There is no clear answer as to when the mobile sports betting market will launch in Maryland. However, there were quite a number of speculations that it could begin at some point this year.

The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission cannot make the rules final for mobile license allocation until it receives a new disparity study. The study will determine if there needs to be more effort to include women – and minority-owned businesses in the industry as required by the MD sports betting legislation.

The SWARC will meet next week to discuss this matter once again.

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