Maryland sports betting is in line to add two more retail sportsbooks before the end of the year.
Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin is expected to open its sportsbook on Friday and Hollywood Casino in Perryville could start taking bets on Dec. 23.
In both cases, those start dates are contingent on the casinos and their respective sportsbooks meeting Maryland online gambling requirements and passing muster in “controlled demonstrations,” according to state Lottery and Gaming Control officials. Ocean Downs is going through its controlled demonstration this week.
Although Maryland sports betting is legal for retail and online, the more immediate future is likely to be dominated by applications for retail licenses. There are literally dozens of those types of licenses authorized by Maryland’s sports gambling law with some eligible applicants designated in the law. Dealing with retail licensing may stretch the timeline for online/mobile sports wagering well into 2022.
Five Should Be Live by 2022
Assuming all goes well, those two casinos will join the state’s three largest casinos that started retail sportsbook operations earlier this month — the Horseshoe Baltimore in Baltimore City; Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover, about 30 minutes south of Baltimore; and MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill near Washington D.C.
Gov. Larry Hogan was on hand when the three went live last week. MGM National Harbor took the first wager on Dec. 9 with the other two following the next day.
Ocean Downs and Hollywood are likely the last two retail sportsbooks to open in Maryland before the end of the year and before the NFL Playoffs, but two more applicants are racing to get started before the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.
Riverboat & Long Shot’s are Next
The Riverboat on the Potomac that, in a quirk of geography, is moored at Colonial Beach, Virginia, but floats in Maryland waters, and Long Shot’s, an OTB in Frederick, have also been greenlighted by the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission and the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC). But some of their paperwork still needs to be completed and, of course, they have to pass their controlled demonstrations.
The two are noteworthy in that they are representative of the operators that Maryland’s sports gambling law, with an emphasis on inclusion, was meant to attract. The Riverboat is minority-owned and Long Shot’s is female-owned.
Also, at the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission meeting on Thursday, the Greenmount Station OTB in Hampstead will be considered by the commission and possibly be recommended to the SWARC for further approval. Greenmount features a bar and restaurant that boasts of its crabcakes.