Another Facility Gains Lottery Approval for Retail Maryland Sports Betting

Another Facility Gains Lottery Approval for Retail Maryland Sports Betting
By Bill Ordine

The rollout of Maryland sports betting continued Thursday at a meeting of the state Lottery & Gaming Commission. Commissioners voted to accept its agency’s recommendation that two associated applicants to run a retail sportsbook qualified for such a license.

In line to house a sportsbook is Bingo World, a bingo facility in Brooklyn Park in Anne Arundel County, along with an operator with a national footprint, Rush Street Interactive. It has the local business presence of RSI MD LLC. Bingo World passed muster with a 6-1 vote and RSI’s approval was unanimous.

Rush Street this week also announced Maryland market access in a deal with Penn National Gaming.

The Lottery & Gaming Commission’s recommendation now moves to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) for further approval. The SWARC is scheduled to meet on March 16.

Should Bingo World clear the SWARC, it would become the ninth approved applicant for a retail sportsbook in Maryland. Five sportsbooks are currently taking bets, all in casinos and with all of them anecdotally reporting good success during their monthly check-ins with Lottery & Gaming during the Feb. 24 meeting.

Three more applicants have been greenlighted by both approval bodies but those businesses haven’t taken the final steps to actually start accepting wagers. Those businesses are all OTBs with food and beverage service: The Riverboat on the Potomac (moored at Colonial Beach, Virginia, but floating in Maryland waters), Long Shot’s (Frederick) and Greenmount OTB (Hampstead).

Maryland’s sports gambling law emphasized broader participation in the sports gambling industry by smaller businesses as well as minority- and women-owned businesses.

Bingo World Had Designation

Bingo World was identified in the original sports gambling legislation as one of 17 designated facilities for a sports wagering license, perhaps better known simply as a retail sportsbook.

Its partner in the venture, Rush Street, already operates gambling enterprises online in 13 jurisdictions as either BetRivers or PlaySurgarHouse (they’d operate as BetRivers in Maryland). The Chicago-based company also operates six retail sportsbooks. Five are in casinos and one is in conjunction with the Connecticut Lottery.

When Will Online Launch in MD?

Regarding the much-anticipated launch of online sports gambling in Maryland, that timetable remains murky. Much work still remains to be done before that happens including writing regulations for online sports betting.

Next up on the online sports gambling to-do list is getting a disparity analysis completed. As of the last SWARC meeting, a contract with an outside firm to do the analysis was being finalized, according to an attorney with the state Attorney General’s Office.

Optimistic estimates peg the launch of online sports betting in Maryland for the opening of the 2022 NFL season.

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A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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