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Maryland sports betting will apparently launch earlier than expected, with MGM National Harbor announcing this afternoon that it will open its retail sportsbook this Thursday, Dec. 9. 

The Oxon Hill-based casino’s plans for a Thursday launch of its BetMGM sportsbook were released less than 24 hours after Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland in Hanover announced plans to launch its FanDuel sportsbook this Friday, Dec. 10.

More casinos are expected to announce launch plans sometime this week.

MGM National Harbor and Live! now appear to be the first casinos that will launch retail sportsbooks out of five casinos awarded Maryland sports betting facility licenses on Nov. 18. The five are among 17 locations designated for retail sports betting under the state’s 2021 sports betting law.

Up to 30 other retail licenses will be competitively awarded in the months ahead.

“Everything is on pace for the first public openings to happen in December,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said in a Dec. 2 press release. “The facilities and the public are eager to get started, and so are we.”

Up to 60 mobile licenses are also allowed under Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law, although regulators have said it could be several months before those licenses are awarded. 

Other Sportsbooks Coming Soon

Hollywood Casino Perryville (Barstool), Ocean Downs (TwinSpires), and Horseshoe Casino (Caesars) are the other three casinos awarded Maryland sports betting facility licenses last month. Maryland Lottery and Gaming said on Dec. 2 that they are working with those casinos to finalize launch plans. 

Riverboat on the Potomac and Long Shot’s in Frederick – two more venues designated as retail sportsbook locations in the 2021 sports betting law – qualified for sports betting licenses on Dec. 2. Those licenses are expected to be awarded by SWARC at its next meeting on Dec. 8, with launches likely in coming weeks. 

Both the Riverboat on the Potomac and Long Shot’s are minority- and/or women-owned, and their licensure supports “the legislative intent of the sports wagering law to create an inclusive and diverse market,” per the Dec. 2 press release.

“We’re extremely happy to see these two locally owned businesses move forward, and we’re eager to continue working with them in the coming weeks to launch their sports wagering operations,” Martin said.

Months In The Making

Maryland sports betting was legalized in May when Gov. Larry Hogan signed 2021 House Bill 940 into law. Maryland state lawmakers passed the legislation in April 2021 after voters approved the change at the polls in Nov. 2020. 

Fox 5 TV reported today that Gov. Hogan is expected to be at MGM National Harbor on Thursday to place Maryland’s first sports bet. 




About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Writer and Contributor
Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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