Two more casinos are moving forward in the Maryland sports betting process. Word on mobile, though, remains scant.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission approved Ocean Downs Casino and Hollywood Casino for alternative licensing standards Thursday. The casinos already hold Maryland gaming licenses, so the MLGCC feels comfortable moving them forward.
The two casinos join three others waiting for the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to award MD sports betting licenses. The retail sportsbooks can then open once the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency approves their internal controls and operational requirements.
Maryland sports betting delay
The SWARC was scheduled to meet Oct. 14 but postponed without rescheduling. At its previous meeting in September, the commission approved a new disparity study that will help it determine how to award the up to 90 competitively bid licenses available.
With up to 90 competitive bid licenses available in Maryland, including 60 mobile, the SWARC’s job is to award the licenses. The commission is required legally to consider minority- and women-owned businesses during the process.
Commissioners are working through the standards they will use to allocate the competitive licenses. One such solution includes potentially tying mobile to the 30 Class B retail licenses.
Delaying approved sportsbooks
The postponement delayed the potential licensing of three casinos that received alternative licensing standards Oct. 6:
- MGM National Harbor
- Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
- Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland
MLGCA Director John Martin said he expected retail sportsbooks to open by late fall 2021. When the SWARC might award the five casinos awaiting approval is still up in the air.
More named entities waiting
The five casinos with alternative licensing standards are among 17 Maryland establishments named in enacting sports betting legislation.
The MLGCC still is working to approve another 12 retail establishments named in the legislation.
The SWARC passed all 17 licenses to the MLGCC without discussion at its first-ever meeting in August. With the MLGCC’s approval, the final step is essentially a ceremonial step by the SWARC.
Online MD sports betting a year away?
Martin recently told local media online sportsbooks now could be up to 12 months away.
The five casinos nearing retail launch have online sportsbook ties:
- MGM National Harbor (BetMGM Sportsbook)
- Horseshoe (Caesars Sportsbook)
- Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland (FanDuel Sportsbook)
- Hollywood Casino (Barstool Sportsbook)
- Ocean Downs Casino (TwinSpires Sportsbook)
Those connections, however, do not mean those online sportsbooks get a clear path to launch once retail sportsbooks are live. During the public comment period, several responses asked for a uniform launch date for online sports betting.