DraftKings Approved For Sports Betting in Maryland at Fairgrounds Racetrack

DraftKings Approved For Sports Betting in Maryland at Fairgrounds Racetrack
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The DraftKings Maryland Sportbook was approved for a sports wagering facility operators license by the state Lottery & Gaming Control Commission at Thursday’s commission meeting. The operator plans to build a sportsbook under the grandstands of the Timonium racetrack at the State Fairgrounds.

The commission quizzed a DraftKings representative about the company’s ongoing financial picture. DraftKings has reported billions of dollars in losses with the admitted prospect of losing hundreds of millions more before the sports gambling company hopes to realize a profit in the fourth quarter of 2023, or shortly thereafter.

A DraftKings representative repeated the well-known realities of the online sports gambling business, which is that the industry generally has been affected by high customer-acquisition costs that should settle down as the industry matures and an established customer base generates profitable returns.

DraftKings Sportsbook Agrees to 10-Year Deal

The deal for sports betting in Maryland between DraftKings (with the attendant corporate names of Crown MD Gaming, LLC, and Crown Gaming, Inc.), and the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society, Inc., is for a 10-year term beginning on the earlier of the launch date of DraftKings’ online sportsbook or its retail sportsbook. Considering the delay in Maryland for online sports gambling, the retail sportsbook’s opening is the obvious start of the DraftKings-State Fair deal.

The two sides will share the cost of renovating an area under the grandstands of the Timonium racetrack for the sportsbook. The gambling company will provide staff to run the sportsbook as well as related equipment, customer and marketing services.

As far as online gambling with Maryland sportsbook apps, there was no movement on the topic on Thursday other than Lottery & Gaming director John Martin noting almost comically, “It will kick in” during the new fiscal year that has just begun. Martin mentioned, as deputy director Jim Nielsen did recently, that February 2023, which also marks the Super Bowl, is a target.

In addition to the DraftKings approval, Masque Publishing, Inc., gained approval for its manufacturers license renewal.

Rocky Gap Casino Being Sold

Among casino news, Rocky Gap Casino Resort affirmed that it is being sold. Current owner Golden Entertainment is selling operations of Rocky Gap, located in Allegany County, to Century Casinos for $56.1 million. VICI Properties Inc. will acquire an interest in the land and buildings associated with Rocky Gap for $203.9 million.

The deal is expected to close in mid-2023. There are no real money online casinos in Maryland yet.

Century Casinos owns casinos in the United States and Canada, including Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in New Cumberland, West Virginia, which is about 170 miles from Rocky Gap. The company also has business interests in Poland and has the operations of a shipboard casino. Its website lists a U.S. office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a European office in Vienna, Austria.

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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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