Legal Maryland Online Poker

You're probably looking at this page because you live in Maryland and have at least a shred of curiousity when it comes to playing online poker in the state. That's what is all about and you are in the right place! Readers are encouraged to use the information on this site as real-world reference material only and not legal advice.

Our staff is made up of experienced poker players, some that have even lived in Maryland, and write based on personal experiences, not what some huge book says. And while the online poker laws in Maryland are important to know, it's also important to know what they mean.

For example, if Joe working down in the mail room goes home and plays online poker most nights without getting into trouble, wouldn't it be same to assume that you would be able to also? Let us be the ones to fill you in on why this is possible despite Maryland being one of the least friendly states (because of increased deposit restrictions) when it comes to residents playing online. So...

Is Online Poker Legal For Maryland Residents?

Like many living in the U.S., residents of Maryland are often confused about whether it is even legal to play poker online. All they know is that it was popular for a long time and then went away after Black Friday of the online poker world. But what they don't know is that online poker is back, and it's on another big upswing due to the fact that many states have legalized it, and even the federal government is thinking about passing their own bills to regulate the industry.

You say, "That doesn't do me any good right now," and technically, it doesn't. But the fact of the matter is that Maryland residents can play online poker anytime and at pretty much any poker site they wish.

How does that work? Despite Maryland not having any state-regulated online poker rooms, there are still a multitude of poker sites that operate outside of the U.S. and do not report to any U.S. authority... and that definitely includes any executive department of the Maryland state government.

So, the bottom line here is that Maryland residents should have no trouble or run-ins with the law due to the fact that they played poker on the Net. And until (probably even after) Maryland does regulate online poker within it's borders, many of the same poker sites will still be the best places to play online poker in MD.

Legal Online Poker Sites For Maryland Residents

Ready to jump in on the action? Of course you are, and who would we be to stand in your way? Below are our top selections when it comes to online poker rooms that are open to Maryland residents. We've gone ahead and weeded out the ones that do not allow MD players as well as the ones where users have had trouble depositing. These are the trusted poker sites we've been mentioning, check them out for yourself!

BetOnline Poker - Credit Cards Work For Most Maryland Residents; Cash + Prepaid

Maryland online poker players have the world of online poker available to them at BetOnline's poker room, and all it takes is a fast and simple download of the software. Well first, players will need to create a login and account with their information but that it quick as well.

Once Maryland players have their account set up and have downloaded the software, to play for real money the thing needed is a deposit. Fortunately, BetOnline has made it easy for Maryland residents to do just that. There are several ways that a BetOnline account can be funded. A credit card (Visa or American Express) is an option, as are electronic transfers like Western Union and a MoneyGram. And finally, the choices of a cashier's check or a money order can be done as well.

SportsBetting Poker - Over 12,000 Players During Peak Traffic Hours; Wide Variety

The site might be named after betting on sports, but rest assured that provides Maryland poker players a great place to come and play. This is a legal online poker room option for those in Maryland, where they are more than welcome to sign up for an account here. The legal age to play poker in Maryland is 21, despite the fact that the minimum age to register for an account at SportsBetting is 18 years old.

Once inside the poker room equipped with an account and real cash to play with, bettors can select from one of hundreds of tables currently going on. Choose your table limit and check out the average pot that has been won per hand to join the perfect table for you.

Does Bovada Accept Maryland Players?

If you were hoping to use Bovada to play online poker, you're going to be out of luck. Unfortunately, Maryland is one of the three states excluded from registering here. While they are considered the best at many things they do, the other legal Maryland poker sites we've recommended are pretty sturdy and offer all the other features found at Bovada such as sports betting, online casino games (these have live dealer games, Bovada doesn't), and horse betting. Sites like BetOnline & are trusted and can service Maryland residents as well as, or better than what Bovada would if they accepted MD residents.

Maryland Online Poker Laws

You can read the gambling laws on the books in Maryland until your ears bleed and you won't find any law relevant to online poker play. The laws that exist target slot machines, illegal lotteries, and other games of chance, leaving online poker out of the discussion entirely. There is no online poker laws in Maryland that prevent players from playing online poker.

That being said, citizens of Maryland are still subject to the UIGEA, a federal law prohibiting American banks from processing payments to or from known gambling sites. State regulation of online poker would be one way around that law, though as of this writing, Maryland citizens can use third party payment processors to transfer their cash legally.

Online Poker Regulation In Maryland

The state of online poker in Maryland is on par with the majority of states in the U.S. There are no legal online poker rooms in the state, and no definitive proposed legislation to bring that forward. There was a bill in early 2013 that related to poker in the home. H.B. 486 is a bill that would allow residents in Maryland to host a poker game at their house, and play for real money.

Maryland could be a state that could benefit greatly from the implementation of legal online poker. The fact that nearby state Delaware already has forms of legal gambling on the Internet means that the mid-Atlantic region of the country is obviously not opposed to the idea on the whole. This is also true with New Jersey, which is in the Northeast region of the United States as well.

Back in the summer of 2012, there was a rumor coming out of Maryland that there was an Internet gambling bill in the works modeled after something like Delaware has in their state. However, that appears to continue to be a work in progress, with no official word from Governor Martin O'Malley's office on that. Maryland could certainly benefit by keeping those who want to gamble online from doing so in those nearby states. Rather than lose them to that, legislation that would legalize the practice would keep the revenue generated from online poker and more from leaving the state.

Is Land Based Poker Legal in Maryland?

For poker fans in Maryland, there is good news coming down from the capital city of Annapolis.  Of all the states in the union, Maryland residents may rest assured that their home state boasts some of the most lax laws as it related to playing poker, even if one wishes to play for considerable profits.

In Maryland, poker is treated much like alcohol or tobacco.  As long as a resident is of age, just as it is legal for them to use any of these “controlled” products, it is legal for them to participate in poker.  As far as legal complications concerning the participation in poker, it’s truly that simple: it is legal for a resident of Maryland to play.

The only legal complication that can arise in the state of Maryland as it related to playing poker by the hand or in tournaments comes in its facilitation.  Continuing with the alcohol and tobacco metaphor, even though it is legal for any of age citizen to use these products, in order to make money off of selling them, there must be certain permits and sanctions applied for and received by the state of Maryland.

Violating these statues as they relate to poker can result harsh penalties.  Whether a resident is operating an unlicensed poker room from their own business or even their own home, they may be brought up on felony charges if found guilty in court.

This, however, brings up an important distinction.  State law in Maryland has nothing to say about a simple, private game amongst friends, no matter what stakes they are playing for.  The only way one can be found guilty of promoting a poker game in Maryland is if they collect a profit, or “rake” from simply hosting the game.  This is the dividing line between a legal act and a felony, so all Maryland residents are strongly advised to take this distinction into careful consideration if they are to host a poker game in their home.

Where to Play Poker in Maryland

Luckily for prospective poker players in the state of Maryland, there are no shortage of legal casinos to play poker in.  In any of the casinos around the city of Baltimore or spread throughout the state, not only can big money be won by stepping up to the felt and laying some money down, but great fun can be had participating in these exciting live tournaments.

With a great variance of buy-ins for no limit hold ‘em tournaments varying from $25 for recreational players all the way up to buy-ins of over $300 for well-seasoned veterans, Maryland is capable of catering to just about every style and skill range of poker player imaginable.

Unfortunately, they do find themselves unable to cater to a demographic wishing to play a form of poker other than hold ‘em.  Even though it’s the most popular version of the game in the United States by far, if a player wished to try a couple hands of a different variant, they will have a hard time doing so in the state of Maryland.

Still, despite the lack of variety in game action, the state of Maryland offers several excellent options for playing poker for fun and for profit.

Note: None of the staff here at LegalPokerMaryland are trained lawyers and do not offer any the above information as legal advice. If you have specific questions or doubts about the legality of playing legal online poker in Maryland or any other state, consult a legal professional that is certified by the bar where you live.