Another Retail Sportsbook License for Maryland Sports Betting Advances to Commission

Another Retail Sportsbook License for Maryland Sports Betting Advances to Commission
By Bill Ordine

Another applicant for a retail sportsbook license in Maryland took an important step in the approval process.

At its meeting Thursday, the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Commission found the Greenmount Station OTB in Hampstead to meet qualifications for a retail sportsbook license and voted to pass that finding along to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC).

Assuming the SWARC also approves Greenmount, the OTB bar and restaurant in Carroll County — just south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border — will be the eighth operator to be granted a retail sports wagering license for Maryland sports betting.

Already up-and-running are sportsbooks in Maryland’s three largest casinos — Horseshoe Baltimore in Baltimore City, Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, and MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, near Washington D.C. MGM National Harbor took the state’s first legal retail sports bet on Dec. 9 and the other two followed on Dec. 10.

Two More Set to Launch

A fourth casino, Ocean Downs in Berlin, is scheduled to open its sportsbook Friday, and still another, Hollywood Casino in Perryville, is scheduled to open Dec. 23. Sportsbooks have to prove their readiness in controlled demonstrations before they can fully open for Maryland online gambling.

Two smaller businesses, which have been approved but aren’t likely to open until early next year, are the Riverboat on the Potomac — which is docked at Colonial Beach, Virginia, but floats in Maryland waters — and Long Shot’s, an OTB bar-restaurant in Frederick. Those businesses are representative of a stated goal of the Maryland sports gambling law to include more minority- and female-owned businesses in the state’s sports betting industry. The Riverboat is minority-owned and Long Shot’s is owned by a woman.

Greenmount Designated in the Law

Greenmount is among the 17 entities that were designated in the sports wagering law to conduct sports wagering operations, pending a review of their qualifications to receive licenses. In addition, the sports gaming law provides for potentially dozens more of retail sports wagering licenses.

Maryland’s Lottery & Gaming investigators are in frequent contact with additional facilities that were designated in the law whose applications are in progress, the agency noted in a news release.

For now, that’s the future of sports wagering in Maryland — an application and approval process for retail sportsbook licenses.

Maryland’s sports gambling law also provides for on online sports wagering and as many as 60 of those types of licenses are available. However, that approval process figures to be more complicated. As a result, online sports betting in Maryland is not expected to begin until sometime in 2022.

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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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