Two more online wagering applicants and three additional wagering facility applicants were “awarded” Maryland sports betting licenses on Wednesday by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission. However, that’s not the final step for the entities who are looking to get into the Maryland sportsbook business.
Each awardee to be “issued” a license must next go through a final approval process with the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission staff. That step includes a successful controlled demonstration of operations and of adhering to state gaming procedures.
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The businesses that were awarded mobile licenses were Crab Sports, Inc., and SBOpco, LLC (SuperBook Maryland Sportsbook).
The facility locations awarded licenses included two related to the chain of Greene Turtle sports bars and restaurants located throughout Maryland — Canton Gaming, LLC in the Canton section of Baltimore City and Canton Gaming, LLC in Towson in Baltimore County. The other one is Kathe P. Hospitality Services, Inc., perhaps better known locally as Michael’s on the South River in Riva, Anne Arundel County.
Smaller Businesses Getting Involved
Wednesday’s SWARC approvals were notable in that the commission is beginning to see smaller and more disparate businesses who are trying to get into sports wagering, which was an important goal of Maryland’s sports betting legislation.
An example of that is Crab Sports whose business plan is “engaging local Maryland businesses to build market share through performance driven partnerships ensuring that all proceeds from sports wagering activities stay within the local community.” In other words, assist other local businesses with little sports gambling experience gain a foothold in the market.
Other entities awarded licenses that could be included in the smaller business category are the Greene Turtle locations and the Kathe P. Hospitality Services business, which is essentially a banquet facility that wants to move its core business to an adjacent restaurant and use the catering space for a sportsbook.
SuperBook A Notable Name
The exception to the small business trend was the awarding of a mobile Maryland sportsbook apps license to SBOpco, which qualifies as an established player in the sports gambling business.
SBOpco is SuperBook, the famous Las Vegas destination sportsbook at the Westgate Casino. SuperBook is already in a handful of jurisdictions outside of Nevada — including mobile sportsbooks in Tennessee, Iowa, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey and Ohio — but has plans to extend its footprint. That will apparently include a sports betting lounge in the immediate vicinity of Orioles Park at Camden Yards. SuperBook has partnered with the Baltimore Orioles for that facility.
Notes From SWARC Public Hearing
The SWARC meeting was also notable in that for the first time there was mention of public input regarding an applicant. Some residents voiced concerns to SWARC chairman Tom Brandt about the proposed location of the catering hall that wants to be a sportsbook.
Brandt noted the concerns but said those issues were in the province of planning and zoning officials in Anne Arundel County and are not the within the purview of either the SWARC or Maryland Lottery & Gaming — other than the fact a business must have local government approvals, such as zoning where required, to receive final licensing.
Brandt noted the applicant is holding a community meeting Feb. 20 to hear from neighbors and to explain what the operation should look like.
Also on Wednesday, the SWARC reviewed and approved required diversity plans of three businesses that had previously been awarded licenses. Those entities are online awardees Bally’s Interactive Maryland, LLC, and WSI US, LLC (WynnBet Maryland Sportsbook), plus facility licensee Long Shot’s Hagerstown, LLC, which is a women-owned business.
Long Shot’s is one of four places currently accepting sports wagers in Maryland that are not at casinos.
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