Maryland Lottery making sportsbook strides as March handle hits $386m

Sports betting handle in Maryland fell slightly in May several months after market launch, according to the latest data from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission (MLGC).

Online and mobile sports betting went live in Maryland back in November 2022, with the state lottery and 10 private operators granted licences, but handle appears to have slowed down in May 2023 having fallen 2.5% to $320.2m ($328.5m).

This decline appeared to be primarily driven by a 2.7% drop in mobile sports betting handle to $305m ($313.5m), although retail betting handle rose 1% from $15m to $15.1m.

Dru James, Analyst, said: “Sports betting handle saw a slight drop from April this month, with overall handle down 2.5%, mobile sports wagers down 2.7%, and retail handle up 1.0%. 

“This behaviour is typical of the market as the summer rolls in, the sports calendar grows scarce, and betting opportunities dry up. While this is not Maryland’s first slow season, this will be the first since the institution of mobile sports betting (implemented in Nov. 2022), which may soften the blow to monthly handle.”

Despite the decline in overall handle and online betting handle, sports betting revenue for the month was up 20.3% from the $25.8m registered in April to $31m. Tax from the industry was also up by 20.3% from $3.9m to $4.6m.

James continued. “Despite the decline in wagers, revenue and taxes are both up 20.3% month-over-month. This is good news for sportsbooks and state coffers alike but could change as the slow season rages on. 

“For now, these numbers will be a strong indicator of the Maryland sports betting market’s health as it weathers the summer instability.”