Sports betting may soon become a reality in Maryland after the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission gave the final approval to five casinos on Thursday.
The commission voted 5-2 to approve sports betting licenses to these five casinos, which include Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Hollywood Casino in Perryville, MGM National, Harbor in Oxon Hill, and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin.
Retail sports betting to launch by early January in five locations
There are still several procedures the casinos will have to follow and complete before getting the green light to launch retail sports betting in their gaming facilities. The approvals are not final until the casinos involved sign a memorandum of understanding. Each casino must demonstrate how the operation will be run to ensure that everyone involved is doing things the right way.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff are currently working with the five casinos, so their operators run business smoothly. This includes going over the procedures, security and surveillance systems, employee training, and implementing responsible gaming procedures.
The last step of the controlled demonstration will involve how the operators handle the live betting situation. This will also be monitored by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff.
The ongoing battle may soon come to an end in Maryland
The sports betting battle in Maryland will finally come to an end after having opposition which led to the verdict wanting to collect more data when members of the commission and lawyers from Maryland Attorney met not too long ago.
In 2020, residents were in favor of bringing sports betting to its borders by favoring 2-1 on the ballot. Governor Larry Hogan is a major supporter in the process as he accused legislation of stalling in regards to the license approvals in the state.
As stated, sports betting could help stimulate the state’s economy as it said it could bring up to $20 million in state tax revenue annually. Maryland is losing out on a lot of potential revenue as sports bettors are going to West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC to place a wager.
Seth Elkin is the assistant Director of Communications for Public Affairs with Maryland Lottery and Gaming, said there is no timeline as to when these procedures must be completed by. However, the sooner the process gets started, the sooner retail sports betting could be launched, hopefully in the next 30 to 45 days.
Mobile sports betting licenses are still months away from getting the green light, but retail sports wagering is certainly moving in the right direction. Commission member Frank Turner was one of the two members who voted against the approval and believed that more time should be allocated for the 17 other operators to be considered during this first round of applications. Turner went on to say
“Let us all start at the same starting point for a change… I would have hoped that we could have done this before the end of the year, where the other group would be part of the five licenses that we are now considering.”
However, as of right now, the five casinos involved are undergoing renovations and development to welcome sports bettors to their facilities. For example, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore is in the process of converting its first floor to a betting lounge in addition to having a bar and restaurant and 14 betting kiosks positioned throughout the casino area.
Consumers may soon be able to bet on numerous sports by early January, which will include playoff football.