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Legal Sports Betting In Maryland To Launch By NFL Playoffs

Graphic for legal sports betting in Maryland.

Maryland sports betting will soon launch at five of the state’s casinos. On Thursday, the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission voted 5-2 to approve licenses for the following sportsbook operators:

  • Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore
  • Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover
  • Hollywood Casino in Perryville
  • MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill
  • Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin

The casinos are expected to launch retail betting services sometime in the next two months. For bettors in the state, this means that domestic books will be available in time for the NFL playoffs.

Conflicts Within The Commission

However, the road to sports betting in Maryland hasn’t been an easy one. The state has taken much longer than others to implement betting operations. It has taken consistent pressure from applicants, legislators, and residents to get the ball rolling. 

Despite a year of deliberations, some folks serving on the gaming commission feel that things are still moving too fast. Former state delegate and current commission member Frank Turner said, “I feel to a certain degree I’m being rushed…”

And to a certain degree, his argument holds up. The gambling legislation signed in November of 2020 authorized one of the largest expansions in the country. 

Turner was one of the two commission members who voted against approving the 5 casinos. He believes that the other 17 operators considered during this first round of applications should be given equal opportunity to launch at the same time as the 5 who were already approved. 

“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.”

Gaming Commission Member Frank Turner

State officials say that the five betting locations are only the beginning. After the initial launch, Maryland’s gaming commission expects to distribute another 30 retail betting licenses and 60 licenses for mobile sportsbooks

Casinos Prepare For Launch

There are still a few details and inspections that must be worked out prior to the opening of Maryland’s first sportsbooks.

In the meantime, the five lucky casinos are eagerly preparing to add sports betting to their list of services. Many are undergoing renovations and development to prepare for the influx of sports fans.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore is in the process of converting its first floor into a betting lounge. The Baltimore sports betting space will include a bar and restaurant along with 14 betting kiosks positioned throughout. 

Sports fans in Maryland have been patient and the wait is finally coming to an end. By January, residents will be able to bet on their favorite teams at their favorite casinos.

Source: The Baltimore Sun

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