State Review Commission Approves 8th Retail Sportsbook for Maryland Sports Betting

State Review Commission Approves 8th Retail Sportsbook for Maryland Sports Betting
By Bill Ordine

Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission gave its approval Monday for what would be the state’s eighth retail sportsbook, an OTB in Hampstead, south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line in Carroll County.

The Greenmount Station OTB, which features crab cakes as a specialty in its bar-restaurant, becomes the third non-casino business to be awarded a retail license for Maryland sports betting. It should launch sports betting in early 2022.

The SWARC vote approving Greenmount Station OTB was 5-0 with two commissioners excused from attending. Greenmount Station gained approval from the state Gaming & Lottery Commission before the matter moved on to SWARC.

So far, retail sportsbook licenses have gone to five of the state’s six casinos, and all have started taking wagers or will do so soon. Already up and running are the Horseshoe Baltimore in Baltimore City (Caesars Sportsbook), Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover (FanDuel), MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill (BetMGM) and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin (TwinSpires), which opened on Dec. 17.

Hollywood Casino Sportsbook to Open

Scheduled to open on Dec. 23 for Maryland online gambling is the sportsbook at Hollywood Casino in Perryville. Hollywood is partnered with Barstool Sportsbook. The only casino not to make its way through the sports wagering licensing process so far is the smallest one, Rocky Gap Casino & Resort in the western part of the state.

Previous to Greenmount Station OTB, two other established OTBs were awarded licenses: The Riverboat on the Potomac, moored at Colonial Beach, Virginia but floating in Maryland waters, and Long Shot’s in Frederick. Those two are expected to start taking sports bets sometime early next year.

Maryland Licensing Process

In what amounts to a multiple-tiered licensing process, the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency does investigation and research into license applicants, then makes a recommendation on the applicant’s qualifications to the state Lottery & Gaming Commission.

Once it's approved by that body, the application is sent to SWARC for approval. Before opening, a sportsbook is required to conduct a controlled demonstration to show it can operate the sportsbook in accordance with state requirements.

The SWARC is a commission created in the state’s sports wagering legislation and is tasked with assuring that the goals of the sports legislation are met, namely to encourage minority- and women-owned businesses in the state’s sports wagering industry.

Maryland’s sports betting law also allows for mobile/online sports wagering but that licensing process won’t hit its full stride until well into 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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