Maryland In-Person Sports Betting Launch Delayed Once Again

Baltimore Maryland
The launch of legal Maryland sports betting has been delayed once again.

After it was believed that officials would approve the sports betting licenses of three casinos who have sufficiently complied with the requirements laid out by the governing bodies, the event at which those licenses were to be given a go signal did not push through on Wednesday.

SWARC Meeting Canceled

Three Maryland casinos – Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live!Casino and Hotel in Hanover and the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill have already met the qualifications for a sports wagering license in the state. However, the Wednesday meeting by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, where the three licenses were supposed to be approved, was cancelled and the SWARC has not announced a new meeting date.

Last August, the SWARC voted unanimously that the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s qualification standards were enough to award sports betting licenses to the 17 entities designated in the Maryland sports betting bill. The three aforementioned casinos were the first to comply with the requirements.

Maryland Sports Betting Bill Signed to a Law Last May

It has been five months since Gov. Larry Hogan signed the Maryland Sports Betting bill into a law. And it is obvious that the Governor is upset with the delay. In a Tweet, Hogan urged Maryland residents to pressure the SWARC and allow football betting season to commence as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission director John Martin recently told the Saturday Tradition that he hopes that the state can begin in-person sports betting by “ late fall”. However, he added that all casinos must first be licensed before opening their sportsbooks to the public. Obviously, that timetable is slowly ticking away.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore Announces Plan to Build Retail Caesars Sportsbook Inside it Property

Sportsbook
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore announced on Wednesday its plans to put up a retail sportsbook inside its property.

Aside from the sportsbook, Horseshoe will be adding new dining options, a new pub concept, and an entertainment venue to transform itself in preparation for the launch of legal sports betting in the state.

The sports betting area is expected to help casino revenues which have lagged since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. The casino has seen a year-over-year decline in revenue from January to June before finally seeing some positive numbers in July and August. However, the latest figures are still 1.6% lower than the pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

The Brew Brothers Concept

A new feature of the sports betting area is a dining concept known as The Brew Brothers. This initiative is based on a a concept with the same name at the Eldorado Resort Casino in Reno and will offer local beer, hand-crafted cocktails, and a wide-range menu. The area will have a capacity of 250 people inside and on its outdoor patio and will also have a pair of “fan caves” that can host private parties.

It food menu includes custom burgers, wings, ribs, specialty pizzas, tacos, salads, pasta dishes and desserts. The Horseshoe Casino has formed a partnership with four local breweries-DuClaw Brewing Co., Union Craft Brewing, Checkerspot Brewing Corp, and Diamondback Brewing Co. with the goal of coming up with 24 local draft beer options.

Entertainment District at Warner Street

The Maryland casino is also negotiating with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, which recently partnered with Caesars Entertainment, and other groups for the establishment of an entertainment district located at Warner Street. The said location is being groomed to have attractions like like Topgolf and a Paramount Concert venue.

Horseshoe isn’t alone in the state with its sports betting expansion. Last April, Live Casino in Hanover opened a $15M sports and social lounge at the heart of the casino. The expansion featured retail sportsbooks which are ready to launch on Live Casino gets the approval to offer such services.

Maryland Gaming Commission Opens Sports Betting License Applications

Baltimore Maryland

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission opened the applications for legal sports betting licenses in the 17 locations named in the state’s sports betting law. According to the Maryland Lottery, the online portal has been open since Tuesday.

Applications for the 30 Class B licenses for retail locations and the 60 mobile sports betting licenses are not yet accepted until the regulations governing them will be finalized. The MLGCC will be holding a public hearing on the resolutions on September 22 and will be accepting online public comments until September 26th.

17 Class A Licenses

As per the state’s spots betting legislation, 17 Class A licenses will be issued to 17 entries in the area. Six of those are the six casino properties in Maryland while five will be given to five off-track betting facilities. The state’s three professional sports locations will be allowed one each while two will be awarded to bingo halls and the last one to be shared by the Pilmico Race Course in Baltimore and the Laurel Park Race Track in Laurel. Future NBA, NHL, and MLS teams that will lease a stadium in Maryland will also be allowed to apply for a Class A sports betting license.

In a press release, the MLGCC said that it anticipates that some if not most of the 17 entities with a Class A license will be able to go live with their sports betting activities late this fall or by early winter and that things will be in place by the time the NFL begins its postseason.

Updated Maryland Sports Betting Partnerships

The Baltimore Ravens, which play at the M&T Stadium have announced partnerships with BetMGM, DraftKings, and Caesars. A retail Caesars sportsbook is being planned at their sports venue. The Washington Football Team has partnered with FanDuel while FanDuel will open a retail sportsbook at the Live! Casino and Hotel. PointsBet has partnered with the Riverboat on the Potomac while Penn National Gaming recently bought Hollywood Casino.

Other sportsbook operators in Maryland include Caesars Entertainment which owns Horshoe Casino, MGM which owns MGM National Harbor, Churchill Downs which is the proprietor of Ocean Downs, and Golden Entertainment which is the owner of Rocky Gap Casino.

Maryland Sports Betting Bill Moves One Step Closer to Passage

Sportsbook Board Image Cut Into Closeup Image of Man Working on Laptop

Maryland’s Senate passed an amended version of the House’s Maryland sports betting bill via voice vote on Thursday morning, moving the state’s sports betting bill industry one step closer to becoming a reality.

While the senate already passed the bill, they will still have to take it to a roll call vote to have the numbers on record before sending it back to the House for a concurrence vote due to the amendments made by the Senate.

Amended HB 940

House Bill 940 was originally passed in the House on March 11. That draft provided for a total of 37 licenses within three areas of the market. However, the Senate chose to amend the bill and include no cap on mobile sportsbooks or Class B licensing, which includes any number of retail locations. The amendment also called for the prioritization of giving licenses to women and minority businesses.

The Senate also set the tax rate for Class A operators to 15% of gross gaming revenue as compared to the tiered proposal by the House. As for Class B Maryland sports betting operators, the tax rate is 13%. Application fees for licenses were priced at $2M with a renewal cost of $500,000 for Class A licenses and $1M in application fee plus $300,000 in renewal for Class B licenses.

What’s Next for HB 940?

The Maryland sports betting bill now moves to a third reading, likely on Friday, and then it will be sent back to the House for for a vote on the latest draft on the measure. Time is of the essence for HB940 as the General Assembly ends their 2021 session on Monday. If the bill is passed, Maryland sports betting could go live before the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Maryland sports betting stands to become the largest and most competitive sports betting regulated sports betting industry in the United States with no limit as to the number of legal Maryland sports betting operators. Maryland is known as the Free State and if this Maryland sports betting bill is approved, the state will live up to its nickname

Maryland Sports Betting Bill Heads to Senate After Securing House Approval

 

Odds Board and Money

The Maryland House of Representatives voted 130-9 in favor of House Bill 940 which would legalize sports betting in the state.

The version of the bill approved on Thursday was much more expanded from what was initially filed The original version called for 10-stand alone digital licenses and allowed retail and mobile sportsbooks at or tethered to the state’s existing casinos. But after discussions with stakeholders, the House Ways and Means Committee amended it to be more inclusive.

Online and In Person Betting

HB 940 would allow online betting at Maryland’s six casinos and the three stadiums where the state’s three major professional teams play, as well as horse racing tracks. The bill also permits 22 locations where people could place bets in person.

The Maryland sports betting bill also requires operators to remit 15% of their revenues as taxes. Applications would cost $250,000 for Class A Licenses, and $500,000 for stand-alone mobile platforms. Renewal fees are valid for five years and are worth $500,000 and $100,000, respectively. Meanwhile, brick and mortar casinos are allowed one skin or mobile partner.

Inclusion of Pro Venues

The locations which are allowed to operate a physical sportsbook include the state’s six existing casinos, the Washington Football Team’s FedEx Field, the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Stadium, the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards, the Maryland State Fairgrounds, Pimlico and Laurel Park horse racetracks, and one off-track betting parlor.

However, the approved version of the Maryland sports betting has a unique provision for the sports venues. Unlike in other states, Maryland sports betting allows venues to take sports bets in ticketed areas and those areas are open only during events, games, or when races are held. The said venues could also offer wagering when other events are held at the facility but there is a required number of people present for it to be considered as “game days”- 2,000 for race tracks and 10,000 for sports venues.

Maryland Expected to Launch Later This Year

The Maryland lawmakers are in session until April 12. If Senate does approve the bill, it will be sent to Gov. Larry Hogan for his signature. The bill would take effect on June 1st but there appears to be no timeline set for regulators to promulgate regulations or get operators.

Generally, it would take a state between six months to one year to approve regulations and launch sports betting operators. Neighboring Virginia legalized sports betting in April 2020. The first sports bet taken in the Volunteer State was on January 21, 2021. On the other hand, Colorado legalized sports wagering in November 2019 and operators began accepting bets in May 2020. Maryland already has a gaming structure so experts believe that sports betting can launch there later this year.