Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Caesars License Bid Stresses Diversity Leadership

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Caesars License Bid Stresses Diversity Leadership
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Bill Ordine

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore announced details of its application for a mobile Maryland sports betting license that very well could be a harbinger of what to expect from other applicants as online wagering moves closer to launch in the state.

Timelines associated with the two-tiered approval process would indicate that some Maryland sports betting apps will launch in the first couple of weeks of December; although, in an extremely optimistic scenario, it could happen sometime in November.

The Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s application for a mobile sports betting license that was filed Thursday includes what the company describes as “a significant ownership interest by local women and minority partners.”

Maryland’s sports gambling law is unique in that that it strongly encourages minority and women participation in the industry and that mandate has resulted in a deliberate approval process that now appears to be coming closer to delivering online sports betting to the state’s sports fans.

The specifics of the application, which was submitted under the name CZR Maryland Mobile Opportunity, LLC, indicates that women and minority partners will hold a 40 percent ownership interest in the mobile gaming license that would be utilized by Caesars Sportsbook Maryland.

Before you see a Caesars Maryland promo code, the application still must pass the regulatory rigors of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission and the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC).

The Horseshoe’s announcement noted that “in January of last year, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. and Horseshoe Baltimore committed to seeking a mobile sports betting license in which diversity partners would hold an interest of at least 25 percent.”

“This is a true hometown application. We’re very pleased to have structured our application in a way that not only reflects our corporate mission to promote diversity, equity and inclusion but is consistent with the spirit of Maryland sports betting legislation, which seeks to create business ownership opportunities that otherwise might not exist,” Caesars Digital President Eric Hession said in a news announcement. “We look forward to working with our exceptional local partners and state regulators in hopes of soon providing Marylanders with a world-class online sports betting experience through the Caesars Sportsbook mobile app.”

Who Is in Horseshoe License Bid Group?

Partners in CZR Maryland Mobile Opportunity’s mobile gaming license application include:

  • PRT 2-Digital, a Baltimore-based partnership group including local businesspeople Eddie Brown, Cecil Flamer, Maria Beckett and James Scott Jr.
  • Letha Christian, a local information technology professional.
  • Caesars Entertainment, majority owner and operator of Horseshoe Baltimore.

The plans seemed to meet with the approval of Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates Adrienne A. Jones, who originally introduced the current sports gambling law. 

“Caesars’ success in bringing on significant minority ownership in their sports wagering program is tangible proof that the General Assembly’s intentional pursuit to create diversity in new markets can be successful,” Jones said in the announcement.

Possibly, the Caesars-Horseshoe news will touch off a flurry of such announcements, as other high-profile applicants look to publicly herald their efforts to meet the spirit of the Maryland sports wagering law’s intent to encourage diversity in the industry.

Next Steps in Maryland Process

A BetMaryland.com interview earlier this week with Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency director John Martin detailed next steps and provided clarity of launch issues.

The deadline for submitting applications for mobile sports betting licenses and for competitive retail licenses is Oct. 21.  On Oct. 27, the Lottery and Gaming Control Commission meets and holds hearings on the qualifications of applicants for mobile sports gaming licenses and also votes on the applicants. The SWARC’s next regularly scheduled meeting after Lottery & Gaming votes on qualifications is Nov. 16 but SWARC could possibly award licenses at a special meeting before that. Awardees then have to successfully clear a controlled demonstration for Lottery & Gaming before being issued licenses and taking wagers.

“We are confident Maryland regulators will find the ownership team outlined in our application well-qualified for mobile sports betting licensure,” said Randy Conroy, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s senior vice president and general manager, in the announcement. “The vast majority of the individuals included in our application have previously been approved for gaming licenses in the state, and we believe the credentials of Letha Christian – who is seeking her first Maryland gaming license – make her an ideal candidate for licensure.”

So, be on the lookout for a Maryland betting promos at BetMaryland.com as the state’s launch draws closer.

Caesars Sportsbook is one of the leading online sportsbook operators in the country.  The Horseshoe already has a retail sportsbook in its casino on Russell Street near M&T Bank Stadium.

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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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