Maryland Sportsbooks Keep Opening … Slowly

Written By Pat Evans on December 22, 2021
Slow sports betting rollout in Maryland

Maryland sportsbooks continue to trickle open.

Ocean Downs Casino opened its TwinSpires Sportsbook Dec. 17, becoming the fourth retail sportsbook to open in Maryland this month. Ocean Downs is among the 17 retail licenses allocated in MD sports betting legislation.

Retail sports betting in Maryland opened earlier this month when MGM National Harbor opened its BetMGM Sportsbook Dec. 9. Online sports betting in the state likely will not launch until at least late in 2022.

Ocean Downs sportsbook opens in Maryland

Following a lengthy process, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission issued a sports betting license to Ocean Downs on Dec. 17 following internal operations tests.

The casino originally was approved for alternative licensing standards by the MLGCC in October. The final approval came from the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission on Nov. 18.

“Maryland sports fans have been wagering on the Kentucky Derby with TwinSpires for many years, and will be familiar with the famous betting brand’s market-leading offers, products and promotions,” said Ben Murr, SVP and chief technology officer of Churchill Downs, the owner and operator of both Ocean Downs and TwinSpires.

TwinSpires footprint grows

There are recent reports Churchill Downs is potentially looking to sell TwinSpires, the horse betting and sports wagering platform.

The sportsbook is available in nine states.

Maryland sportsbooks opening

Along with MGM National Harbor, two other sportsbooks opened earlier this month:

Penn National Gaming‘s Hollywood Casino will likely open its sportsbook this week, according to a release from the MGLCC.

Another three licenses are awaiting their final approvals from the MLGCC as well:

  • Long Shot’s
  • Riverboat on the Potomac
  • Greenmount Station

Maryland online sportsbooks a ways off

The SWARC is working on the licensing standards an additional 30 retail sportsbooks and up to 60 mobile sportsbooks will follow. The two competitive bid processes could be tied together in some form, according to comments at past SWARC meetings.

The process will likely take an online launch in Maryland deep into 2022, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency Director John Martin said.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-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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