It looks as though rules for Maryland sports betting promos won’t be loosening any time soon. The industry collectively requested the easing of specific regulations that would allow them to offer a wider variety of more targeted promotions, but it has been shot down by the Maryland Lottery Gaming and Control Agency (MLGCA).
What Are Maryland Sports Betting Promo Rules?
In Maryland, sportsbooks are required to submit descriptions, including terms and conditions, of any promos they are considering launching at least two days before they are launched. The MLGCA reviews them to ensure that there is no misleading information that could negatively impact bettors.
This seems to be a fairly uncommon rule in the wider online sports betting industry. In my research, I was unable to find any similar stipulations from gaming commissions in states like New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania where there are thriving betting markets.
The proposal from Maryland sportsbooks offered up an alternative. Its counter-offer was a rule requiring sports betting operators to notify the regulator within five days of launching any new offer. However, this was rejected.
“We provide guidance to sportsbook operators so they may bring a variety of promotions to the market. At the same time, we feel that reviewing the details of promotions before they launch is a reasonable step that’s in the best interests of consumers.” – says John Martin, Director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming.
Maryland Sportsbooks Want to Provide More Local Betting Promo Options
The rule requiring operators to give two days advance notice is quite restrictive. Maryland sportsbook operators argue that it prevents them from offering promotions targeted at local markets.
For example, when teams advance through the NCAA basketball tournament, sportsbooks in other states are able to almost immediately launch promotions targeted directly to their fans. However, this is something that Maryland sportsbooks are unable to do, so bettors in the state will have to wait a minimum of two days before any promotions are offered to them based on the results of any sporting event.
“The submission of promotions prior to advertising/marketing efforts limits the ability to adequately consider promotions because of unknown variables which often accompany events that are attractive for sports bettors.” – the industry’s proposal reads.
What’s the Solution?
Maryland could take a page from the book from other sports betting markets, coming to a fair middle-ground that would provide bettors with a wider variety of promotions to choose from and keep operators from advertising any misleading information.
This would mean coming up with a very specific set of rules for what operators can and cannot include in their promotions, as well as any advertisements of those bonuses. As is the case in the United Kingdom, the fines for violating these rules would be incredibly steep – so, operators will be very diligent in ensuring that everything is perfect before the promotion is launched.
It would be a fair compromise between what the industry is proposing and the commission’s current rules, with the safety of players at the heart of it all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like there is any wiggle room, as the MLGCA has not presented an alternative solution.
Growth in Maryland Sports Betting
Maryland’s sports betting market continues to grow, and operators definitely want to maintain this level of handle by offering a wider range of betting offers. In May, Maryland sportsbooks handled $320 million in bets – a significant increase from April’s $313 million handle. It’s anticipated that operators in the state will process over $4 billion by the end of 2023, generating $75 million in tax revenue.