The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) has confirmed online sports betting contributed $186m towards November’s total sports betting handle.
Maryland online sports betting finally launched on November 23, in the week of Thanksgiving, following an arduous process which required operator approvals from the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) and Maryland Lottery and Gaming.
Ten operators received approval for a licence in the state but only seven went live on November 23 as three said they were not ready to launch.
Despite this setback, and with only a week of trading, online sports betting still made up 84.9% of the total sports betting handle ($219m) for November.
This handle resulted in $704,728 in taxes for the state.
Rob Linnehan, XL Media Editor, noted on his Twitter profile: “Of that total online sports betting handle, $63.8m was in free promotional play. Promotional play is deducted from the taxable win, so online sports betting resulted in just $4,262 in taxes for the first nine days of the month.”
In total, $188.4m was paid in prize winnings to players – $160.2m to online players and $28.2m to those in retail locations.
“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 Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin.
“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.
“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.”