Which Three Casinos Are Closing In On Maryland Sports Betting?

Posted on October 7, 2021
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Written By on October 7, 2021

Three casinos are moving ahead in the Maryland sports betting license process.

On Wednesday, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission approved alternative licensing standards for:

  • MGM National Harbor
  • Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
  • Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland

Those casinos already hold Maryland gaming licenses, expediting the process for reviewing their qualifications.

What’s next for Maryland sports betting?

Now, the three casinos head back to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which will officially award the MD sports betting licenses. Following that step, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency staff need to approve internal controls and operational requirements before issuing the licenses.

“We’re pleased to have these three applicants approved and move them along to SWARC,” MLGCA Director John Martin said. “Our team is diligently implementing the sports wagering law, and we’re one step closer to the first in-person wagers, which we hope will take place this fall.”

The 17 retail sportsbooks named in MD sports wagering legislation will likely be several months ahead of online sportsbooks, as SWARC determines how it will award up to 90 competitively bid licenses.

Alternative sports betting license standards

Wednesday’s meeting started with MLGCA staff requesting the authority to apply alternative licensing standards to qualified applicants.

The alternative standards apply if an applicant holds a valid gaming license in Maryland. The staff also asked for permission to apply alternative standards to an applicant that holds a sports wagering license in at least one of 16 states they determined to have similar gaming license standards as Maryland.

“Maryland’s qualification standards for a casino-related license are identical to and specifically incorporated in the Sports Wagering Law, and are therefore, clearly sufficient for qualifying an applicant for sports wagering license on that basis,” a staff memo reads.

Three casinos receive the nod

MGM National Harbor, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Live! Casino and Hotel will move forward in the licensing process. The three casinos hold licenses issued by the MLGCC.

MLGCA staff will still conduct an “extensive background investigation in due course.”

All three applicants completed full applications and all required financial obligations. They also submitted “an affidavit attesting to the minority and women-owned interests of the applicant.”

Three major sportsbook operators

The three casinos will open retail sportsbooks with significant operator partners.

Both BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook secured partnerships with the Baltimore Ravens this year, along with DraftKings.

MD sports betting regulations nearly complete

The MLGCA wrapped up a public comment period on its sports betting regulations in September. MLGCA Managing Director of Organizational Compliance James Butler hopes the Maryland Register can publish the regulations Oct. 22.

Along with significant concerns about official league data requirements, some stakeholders also asked for an equal starting line for mobile sports betting in Maryland.

SWARC meets next Oct. 14 and and MLGCC will meet again Oct. 21.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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