How Old Do You Need To Be To Gamble In Maryland?

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If you are a gambler, do you know how old you need to be to gamble in Maryland? Well, Maryland offers a surprising level of openness to gambling activities, with varying legal age requirements, spanning from 18 to 21, depending on the specific activity at hand.

This article will talk about these age thresholds, ensuring that both residents and visitors can take part in gambling while staying firmly within the boundaries of the law. We used CasinosHunter’s research on how old do you need to be to gamble in the US by state as a source for this article.

The Legal Landscape

In Maryland, gambling is defined as “betting or wagering in any way to gain something of value based on the outcome of any race, competition, or circumstance.” Up until recently, the consequences for participating in illegal gambling as a player were severe. It was considered a misdemeanor offense, carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a substantial monetary fine. 

However, in April 2019, Maryland legislators made revisions to the regulations. According to the new guidelines, individuals caught engaging in unlawful betting could face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. Maryland Code Title 12-102 clearly states that an individual “may not participate in betting, wagering, or gambling.” In normal people’s words, it means that all gambling activities are prohibited unless clearly allowed. 

However, state regulations do not specifically address online gambling, leaving uncertainty as to whether this applies to online platforms specifically. It is interesting that the state authorities have never pursued legal action against individuals for online gaming and have displayed no inclination to do so. 

Casino Gambling Age

Maryland’s casinos fall under the jurisdiction of the Maryland Lottery. These facilities are authorized to offer both slot machines and classic table games like Roulette and Blackjack. Moreover, certain counties permit charitable organizations to host casino and card game events. 

Maryland allows the operation of physical casinos, with a prerequisite that participants must be at least 21 years old to engage in live casino games.

The legal age to participate in live poker games in Maryland aligns with the requirement for engaging in live casino games at local establishments, which is set at 21 years of age. Table games became permissible at land-based casinos in the state back in 2012, a development that drew poker enthusiasts from various corners. Maryland boasts several casinos with popular poker rooms.

Participating in online casino gaming and engaging in real-money poker play on the internet currently resides in a legal gray area, marked by a lack of comprehensive regulation. Section 12 of the Maryland Code explicitly prohibits betting, wagering, or gambling activities with unlicensed entities. So we have to wait for more up-to-date regulation, be it allowance or prohibition. 

State Lottery and Bingo

Maryland is home to an official state lottery, making tickets available for acquisition to individuals aged 18 and above through licensed retailers located all across the state. While online purchases of lottery tickets are not permitted, the widespread presence of 4,400 retailers ensures that all Maryland residents can easily access services offered by the Maryland Lottery.

Moreover, charitable events permit games of skill such as bingo and raffles, with participants required to be at least 18 years of age, granting them eligibility for cash prizes. Charitable organizations commonly conduct raffles and bingo as a means of fundraising for local educational and cultural projects. 

Sports Betting & Racing

In November 2020, Maryland voters gave their approval for the introduction of sports betting within the state. Additionally, professional sports stadiums and arenas have the opportunity to seek licenses for sports betting operations. Both in-person and online sports betting in Maryland are accessible to individuals aged 21 and older, with online bets being available via particular certified apps and at land-based casino houses via their own software. 

Maryland boasts a prominent status in thoroughbred horse racing and has the famous prestigious Pimlico Race Course which stands as one of the nation’s renowned racetracks. In addition to Pimlico, three other Maryland racetracks also offer their own racebooks. For those who prefer off-track betting, certified apps provide convenient online options. Greyhound races, however, remain prohibited within the state. For those keen on horse racing wagers, the minimum gambling age is 18. 

Speaking about sports, individuals aged 18 and older are eligible to partake in Daily Fantasy Sports competitions and place real-money bets (and this is not seen as online gambling compared to casino sites). 

Responsible Gambling

It’s crucial to underline the importance of Responsible Gambling at all times, both for online games and for all offline facilities where real-money bets are accepted. Responsible Gambling policies for companies dictate the rules under which services can be provided, while Responsible Gambling practices for players recommend rules and guidelines to follow in order to prevent compulsive gambling behavior and gambling addictions. Setting limits on time and money, staying informed about the odds, and recognizing the signs of problematic gambling behavior are key strategies. 

Additionally, Maryland offers support systems for those seeking assistance with gambling-related issues. The Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling provides invaluable resources, helplines, and counseling services, creating a safety net for those who might find themselves navigating the challenges of excessive gambling. There are help programs for families, seniors, youth, parents, adults, support groups, and more.