Adding up the numbers from sports wagering in Maryland

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The Executive Director of The Maryland Lottery and Gaming John Martin discusses a full year of mobile sports wagering in our state and how the money helps fund the Blueprint For Maryland’s Future Fund and provide player protections that make a real difference.


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John Martin, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Looking back at W and S T tasks Baltimore and Baltimore positive we’re having fun around here because we can’t lose this weekend. We are hiatus sing the Maryland crab cake tour this month not because of bad weather, not necessarily because of festivals. It just I’m sort of regrouping to do the biggest thing we’ve ever done. We’re calling it crabcake row. It’s going to be beginning on February 5. The Maryland lottery is a part of it. I will have a limited amount of the purple Oh snaps especially if the Ravens contingent is in the Super Bowl out in Las Vegas. But the week February 5, it’ll all be brought to you by friends and window nation 866 90 nation as well as Jiffy Lube multicam and all my sponsors are asking people I know Hey, what are you doing? What are you doing? John Martin is here from the Maryland lottery right now. I know what he’s doing. He’s waiting for Browns football. We got six football games on the couch this weekend. You have fresh sports wagering numbers a year now into this thing I remember way back in the day all 18 months ago we’re trying to get all this stuff online. This is the most exciting time of the year and even browns and Lions fans and Bill’s fans first time ever all involved in this this is an exciting time for you John Mark


John Martin  01:11

does your very exciting times in first off the be wasted on your your your radio listeners but your your your podcast viewers if you will will notice I am resplendent in purple today as an acknowledgment to the number one seed in the AFC I fully acknowledge the fact that as of now as we speak, they are comfortably resting for next week’s challenge whatever that may be. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:38

I have never really said this before I’ll I’ve been on here 32 years. The Super Bowl comes through Baltimore. I have never been able to say that like it really comes through Baltimore this time right you you feel that and you feel that like as a as a Browns lifer that the Browns win this week. Next week if the Browns call me because I don’t think dolphins are gonna win Steelers I get the Steelers a bunch of buffalo I really do. So it would be the Steelers or the Browns if they if they win. I don’t. I can’t imagine the Texans winning this weekend. Like I I am a believer in Joe at this point. But I also think a Browns ravens playoff game in Baltimore with Joe Flacco. I couldn’t have written a script. I’m a writer and I write books about I couldn’t write anything better than that if that’s the way this thing plays out next week.

John Martin  02:24

Well as all sports fans, regardless of your allegiance will will attest. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Let’s just kind of see how this weekend plays out and see how the deck is shuffled. And we’ll determine we’ll have some fun next week but right now we’re having this week more fun than humans should be allowed Nestor and I you know why do you know why that

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:43


is? Why segue me Tell me what’s going on at the Maryland lottery.

John Martin  02:46

We have first off jackpots. Powerball as we speak 60 million Mega Millions. 187 million, you know is that is that magic triple digits once it gets over that 100 million people start to take notice. And and it will hopefully progressively grow as we as we move forward on that. But we did as you tease on the outset we do are releasing our sports wagering numbers. And they are significant.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:10

And was that an annual or a monthly like this is for the whole year last year? Yes.

John Martin  03:15

Well, we released them monthly, so this guy for the month of December, but now with December in the books, we can look at calendar year 2023. And look at it from January through December where we had fully operational, mobile sports wagering to go with our retail presence. And very proud to say that the month of December, we set a high watermark on handle. And again, the handle is the amount of money that gets bet through the sports books, over $559 million, which is a significant number. And and the reason is, you may remember, you can play the tape, I know you’ve got it in your archives there. Back in October, we had five NFL Sundays, and back then someone who looked a lot like me said, wait for December, because we have five NFL Sundays in the month of December as well. And that does significantly alter the landscape when you have to


Nestor J. Aparicio  04:15

have a payroll. So I remember I remember by payroll, yeah. Two payroll, three payroll months. Totally, totally different game on the books. Right. So So

John Martin  04:24

while we’re crowing about it, and of course I’m on your show, my peers around the country who engage in sports wagering probably had a pretty good December too. So all boats rise. When when something like that happens, but over $559 A million dollars on the handle the net to the state our contribution in the month of December 6.4 plus $6.4 million dollars to the state now for the calendar year 2023. That puts our total contribution in the state, roughly doing the math on the fly here about 45 Four For $45 million for the year, and again, when we originally talked about sports wagering, we estimated when fully operational, we’d be the 2530, maybe $35 million a year. Contribution. Well, right now we’re, we’re well north of that. And of course, the fiscal year when that wraps up in June, we’re probably about the same. So right now, I would officially say we have a mature market. We have 13 Mobile entities and 12 retail entities, we still have some more folks in the pipeline we’ve had for several weeks now. And even if they weren’t come on board, they’re not going to significantly alter the landscape will tell you what will alter the landscape and you may know because I know you from occasion will go up to up 95 and visit with our friends at Hollywood Casino.

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:45

I’m gonna have to go this Saturday night. You know why? I’ll give you choices. Peacock, peacock, well, like you’re saying, like she actually, literally I don’t have Peacock, and I’m like, I think I’m gonna, I’m gonna go out on so I’m gonna go to Hollywood casino and watch the game because like, that’s what the league’s doing. And I’m like, I’m not giving you my programming. But But yeah, so yeah. So the casino, keep going, I’m sorry. Yeah, no, but

John Martin  06:05


but with, as you know, and many of your fans will know, as well, you know, ESPN bet has come into the landscape as a brand and, you know, preliminary figures very early, because they’ve thrown a lot of promotional money at it, as all the other books did when they opened. So this is basically their coming out party. So they’re promoting heavily. They’re nibbling away at the fan tools and the Draft Kings in the bed. MGM is in the Caesars, existing market share with their promotional activities. So I’d expect that to continue, certainly through the Superbowl period, maybe even through March Madness. And then again, we’ll get a level set. Once ESPN bed status says okay, here’s where we’re going to be, then I think it comes back to normal, but right now we’re seeing them enjoying a good opening month or so here. Overall, hopefully, people playing responsibly betting with their their heads and not their hearts. It’s particularly with some of the local influences in the on the calendar. So stay tuned. It’s gonna be a good January, and certainly a great February and then right into March Madness. So I think the next two, three months we’ll see again, strong results, and all pointing towards roughly a $45 million annual tax contribution to the state. John

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:21

Martin is the executive director of all things Maryland lottery and gaming. This is the gaming side, the lottery side happens on February 5, when I give away the Oh snaps here he is resplendent in his royal regal purple the color of royalty today to celebrate the Ravens by weekend here. Yeah, by the way, you look better in purple, like Joe Flacco than in the brown just so you know, orange, orange and brown, not really the color combination I’m looking for. I was gonna ask you this, because you came on, maybe a year and a half ago, we were talking about rolling out mobile, and you were clearly in charge of it. swarek and trying to get it all. And you know, my friends, even Greenmount station and different places trying to get it open. You had promised numbers and had numbers as the executive that you are. And you said you make educated guesses in a market that never existed to say, How much money would this generate? And I remember being I think I was at Mako with you maybe a year and a half ago, and sort of my eyes bugged out and saying 25 $30 million to state that’s all this money that was going to bookies they named a salad after him down in Little Italy and all the illegal illegal sports wagering that had been going on all my life from my dad getting pool cards at the point for, you know, three, three points, never an inducement to wager all of that, but now on the up and up and all of this, that this money goes to the state tell folks where the money goes because it was a bigger contribution. And I know, guys, like you stick your neck out and say, once we do this, what’s the expectation or my department in my place to make all of this money for the comptroller for the state that goes to the fund to say that we should make gambling legal, and there’ll be a good thing for us. But when you start talking about 40 $50 million a year, that never made its way back in that was making its way quite frankly to bookies and people on the street with maybe with illicit things. But not just to I want to portray this as a good thing. But it is a good thing. And everybody I know that’s now making bets doesn’t have to go see Leo to collect or whatever, that people wanted this. They will everybody wanted this. And it’s going to wind up being really good for the state. And it’s a bigger number than you even predicted. And I was sort of like, because I did say to you and I’ve said to the people who’s gonna bet on baseball games, I think people have found creative ways to have fun with putting $1 on Ryan mountcastle. And thinking they could win 20 or whatever, right? They’ve had fun with it.

John Martin  09:38

Our friends at the American gaming Association right down the road in Washington DC are quick to point out and I would concur with this that the benefit of going from an illegal unregulated black market to a legal regulated, controlled market with with what we have today is significant on a number of fronts. First of all, it’s player protections. You Don’t have to chase down Leo on the corner. You’re guaranteed again to use the phrase if things are on the up and up. So, you know, people, as a player, as a participant now have player protections in place that they didn’t have before with the government’s involved, and they have been certainly in the lottery business for several years, but certainly in sports wagering, as well as maybe some other programs we’ll see coming down the road in the next year or two. But in sports wagering, that money then goes to the good causes that the state happens to support and specifically in Maryland, the beneficiary from sports wagering is a blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, the Kerwin program that for lack of a better education and kids education, yes, yes. Which again, as you said, wasn’t there before. So it’s not money has been redirected. This is net new money to the blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, where and if you happen to read and have been around for the last several months, the legislative session that starts now, in Annapolis, budgetary issues are going to be significant and looking at where revenue streams are coming from what is realistic in today’s economy, to know that you can count on 40 $45 million a year from sports wagering going directly to the blueprint. That’s a big deal in Annapolis. And we’re proud not only to provide that from our government agency perspective, but we’re also proud of the player protections in place, the responsible gaming mechanisms in place, again, to protect players protect vulnerable populations from from getting in too deep, managing it, having some fun having a plan sticking with it. So all those things that you didn’t have, prior to regulated, legalized state run programs, you’re responsible for

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:53

these numbers as the Executive Director of the Maryland law, are you kind of shocked Is it is it more than you thought? Because it’s more, it’s more prevalent than I thought. And we’re me and I read the ads. And I tell people if you have a problem slowed in a slow your roll all of that. I’ve had people in my life that are regular normal people that I never knew bet on sports, that are having fun with it. And I see that they want 50 bucks or they’re you know, they had a partly just having like my dad did, my dad just had fun, at the point with work with a couple of friends and never bet more than a buck or two, that that was my dad never bet on a horse race. I mean, but I’m kind of shocked at the numbers bigger, and you it’s your job to get you know, 45 million the state says, give me that money. I think 25 or 30 is what the number we were talking about it do you stand a little surprised? You

John Martin  12:43

know what, I think that the more surprising number when you get into the weeds is the the hold. Again, I talked about handled before and that’s the money that’s wagered, the hold is what’s left after they pay off the the winning bets in that scenario. So you’ve got you know, hundreds of millions of dollars coming in, hundreds of million dollars go out. And that percentage hold back in the day back when when your dad and my dad came home with the pool slips and you know, your circle the bears over the Packers this week or whatever the scenario was, you know, in in the early stages of sports wagering back in those days, you know, a single digit hold percentage five 6% was was all that was expected by the, by the entities by the the operators. Today in the numbers are reported earlier, were double digits were a 10 11% hold. And how did that happen? Well, it happened because the sports books are getting more creative. They’re offering different products. You know, we heard the term parlay, and we think oh, that’s cool. That’s, that’s a way to, to, you know, put five bucks down and when significantly more, well, it is, but you have to understand math, and you have to understand the risk involved with that. And that parlays have been a really a relatively new phenomenon in sports books. And really, if you’re not educated as to what you’re wagering on, a lot of that money goes right back to the to the stars.

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:11

I mean, it’s just if it was easy, we’d all be familiar. I mean, like literally it’s very, very hard picking football games it is

John Martin  14:16

right. Alright. So again, that that to me has been the eye opener is that what was a single digit margin industry is now become a double digit margin industry and probably will only continue that, that that trend because of the way that parlays in, in in, in game betting and other things that are out there, which again, also have their their risk factors, all the more reason have player protections, to have bet limits to have a plan to stick with it. To to when you’re out there making social with friends so that somebody doesn’t get in a little too deep or out over their skis on this. So all those things come into into place. And yes, use the word for early responsibly and in a in a different phase but as as Marilyn In lottery and gaming, we take very seriously our responsibility not only in the contribution to the state but to the commitments to the players who enjoy the games.

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:09


I should have taken the Ravens at 18 to one to get to the Super Bowl in August, like a friend of mine did. So, you know, two wins away. He didn’t have to win the Super Bowl. Just have to get there. John Martin is here. He’s executive director of all things Maryland lottery and gaming. He’s already hit the Super Bowl. The Browns are in the playoffs here this week, Joe Flacco, we’re all having fun. Aside from sports wagering, we still have this little lottery business we have here. Yes, yes, we do. What’s going on there? Because they’ve turned here. And I’ve told folks I had the scratch offs are still gonna be good. I have a few holiday hours leftover, but they’re more winter seasonal scratch offs. But you guys are, I mean, springs right around the corner, right? I mean, it was we were thinking about things. But you know, we went to new games here. 24. Right. We

John Martin  15:46

have lots of fun things coming. And we’ll have some new games to announce in the coming weeks. But today, before we say goodbye to our holidays, just know that we still have one more big drawing for our second chance on on holiday tickets, that drawing will be on the 16th of January. And in addition to the five $5,000 Winners will be selected, we will have two $100,000 Winners selected. So if you’re still not in the second chance for the holiday tickets, please go to MD And be aware of what you need to do to get your tickets in. Hey, you know what, it’s after the holidays, you have that extra five pounds kind of sitting around the middle.

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:28

My wife went out last week over in your old neighborhood, the YA Yas and picked up some extra days. So it’s bad enough that I eat them from December 10 to December 28. But then you go rolling out January 4 and buy more, but they’re good. And I gotta have them. So yes, I, I sit on the mat trying to work off the ham. And

John Martin  16:49

I tell you, I’ll tell you what, how would a home gym package sound if you’re in my lottery rewards member and again, go to NBA for details. But that’s a mechanism where you can input your ticket information, you accumulate points. And every once in a while, we have a promotions that are pretty intriguing and this home gym package. And I know you’re gonna be shocked, but I am not necessarily a fitness freak. I know. I know. I look like I am


Nestor J. Aparicio  17:18

space for right now I have a room I’m trying to clean out for my own yoga. So if I got a gym, I could put it in there. So tell me about it.

John Martin  17:24

You know, the gym package. Let me start with the value the the estimated price value $11,700. That’s a lot of sweating. That’s a lot of stuff. It’s it includes a folding treadmill, an air bike, a fitness mirror, because you know, you got to be looking at yourself the whole time.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:45

My wife got on the treadmill because it was cold. And the treadmill I have is 25 years old and I am seeing her on it. And two years. She got on a lot after she got sick back in the day 10 years ago. But she got on it the other day. And I’m like it still works. She’s like, Oh, yeah, it just doesn’t work on level two, level three, level four. And I’m like, okay, so we need a new treadmill. So you’re getting my attention. Go ahead.

John Martin  18:04


You got a yoga kit. I don’t even know what the heck a yoga kit is. But I don’t think goats are provided here. That’s a whole nother conversation. But you’ve got you know,

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:11

this is the most important tool that I have in my gym. This is the roller. This is the foam roller for my back. So if this is a yoga kit, so Anyway, go ahead. Did you ask a yoga kid? I

John Martin  18:23

happen? There you go. That’s it, huh? Yeah. All right. All right. So again, go to MD Check out our promotions, find out you have between now and Monday, April 1, no April Fool’s joke here. Now between now and Monday, April 1 to enter in, you take 50 of your drop points that you’ve accumulated over the time. And that will get you one entry. One winner of the home gym package randomly drawn on Tuesday, April 2. But that’s a pretty cool package, don’t you think? As long as they get purple

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:54

yoga blocks when they when they see I really do yoga, you see your I’m a real yoga guy. So thinker, this $11,000 gym, I’m all about that. So my lottery rewards the way to do that. And I didn’t want to be interrupted, but I had to laugh. You’re like second chance to $100,000 winners. And I’m thinking that’s two phone calls. Doug Lloyd is gonna make two winners who aren’t gonna believe him. I mean, that really is the wildest pocus. My wife does this, right? My wife has an app, she enters all of her tickets, she buys mouths $180 million. She’ll get in and she enters them. And I’m telling you if somebody called from the lottery and said to her, you’ve won 50 grand and a second chance. I think that’s the hardest job in the building. And I admit that to you as the the man who manages dog that he you know, he might you might need some counseling because they got people have to hang up on him. There’s just no way that a guy from the lottery calls and says you want $100,000 on that ticket you bought three months ago that you put into second there’s no way that person believes it. i I’ll stand behind that right.


John Martin  19:55

Those are interesting phone calls to the duck has to happen in some time. he’ll have to come on and share with you some of the ones that maybe you haven’t heard yet because

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:04

no ma’am really, you’ve won really I’m, I’m really with the lottery now you can come on your Charlie stop. You know,

John Martin  20:11

a lot of times players know because they’re holding the ticket in their hand and you can go to MD And look at all of our our winner stories.

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:18

You don’t have any fat when the tickets in your hand you don’t believe it right literally. Well,

John Martin  20:22

here’s one Do you happen to know your wife’s birthday? Don’t disclose it? That’s that’s a yes. No question. May 31. Well, did you don’t don’t do that. Okay. So again, that we talked about before our pick five, you have to pick five numbers. So a lot of people it’s a month it’s a date, and it’s a year right that you get your five digits. Okay, so husband decides to get these lottery ticket uses his wife’s birthday for pick five. Don’t get ahead of me. Bam. $50,000 winner. How’s that for a birthday present here, honey?

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:52

That’s good cake. That’s what I’d say I get a crabcake in addition to that, so yeah. For for sports wagering and for advice for people. Tell everybody given the number let’s go through all this because it’s playoff time. People ramped up, everybody’s going to be betting on the Ravens. We know that because it’s a hometown. Everybody that what what the government tells us to tell folks and and how people can get help if they do have a problem. What

John Martin  21:16

please again, have a plan, stick with it. Again, there are a number of resources available. I’ve alluded to the American gaming Association before the AIGA they’ve got a very effective, you know, have a plan, stick to it program for wagering if you or someone you know, because a lot of times it’s the person themselves who’s in too deep, who doesn’t realize it. It’s a family number, it’s an associate, it’s a friend, call one 800 gambler, and you’ll get free services there. I think one of the best services I’ve heard is a peer to peer counselor, someone who has been in that situation who has come through the other side has battled and won. Their their addictive struggle, and they’re available to speak with people and help them get the resources they need. And again, it’s not just for the person who’s who may be the the the player themselves, but families and friends that that support system is very, very important one 800 gambler, and they’ll help you. Yeah,


Nestor J. Aparicio  22:15

I’ve talked a lot this week. I played a fitness on last week about health and about New Year and mindset and a lot of people trying to make changes in their life. So if you are struggling one 800 gambler. We’ll get on to that and if and if you’re around Super Bowl week, crabcake row is coming out. We’re doing our crab cake tour five straight days of madness and lottery giveaways. And our friends at window nation Jiffy Lube are putting us out on the road. John, I hope to see you that week. I’m sure I’ll see you again next week. I listen, to be really honest. Next week. I think the Browns are gonna win. Okay. Next week when you come on. We’re in orange and brown. I mean, because if the Browns call me or with Joe Flacco next week, it’s going to be the biggest football game in the history of the city. I mean, it’s really next week is gonna be really, really special that and I’m hoping for special. It’s a special month around here, you know, and I think everybody believes the ravens are gonna do special things. This is what being a sports fan is all about. And I was here we stole the Browns thinking one day we’ll have an AFC Championship game, but three decades we still haven’t had an AFC Championship Game year. So a lot of stake the next couple of weeks and a lot of fun for sports fans.

John Martin  23:17

It is a lot of fun. And again, we will get through this weekend. We’ll see when the dust settles or the snow falls whatever happens weather wise. We’ll see where we’re at then when we talk next week. It will be a whole different conversation. I’m sure

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:29

when you’re wearing your Joe Flacco 15 Next week here on the air, I’ll remind them that you were purple last week. All right, good. John Martin joining us here executive director of all things Maryland lottery and gaming the crabcake tours back out on the road beginning on February 5. And again. If you’re out there rolling gambling on on sports take take it slow, it’s playoff time. We’re all trying to have some fun. We’re all winners if we have a parade here on Valentine’s Day, I am Esther we are wn st am 1570, Towson, Baltimore. We never stop talking. Baltimore positive

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