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Three casinos qualified for a Maryland sports betting license today, edging the Old Line State closer toward a possible fall launch.

The venues are the first of 17 locations named in Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law to officially qualify for a retail sportsbook license. All three casinos are installing or have already installed sports betting lounges in anticipation of a 2021 opening. 

  • Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore plans to open a retail sportsbook and mobile betting app in partnership with Caesars Sports, which announced a deal with the Baltimore Ravens and the casino last month. 
  • MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County announced yesterday that it will open a BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge this month in anticipation of a late fall or winter retail sports betting launch. The lounge will operate as a restaurant until sports wagering goes live. 
  • Live! Casino and Hotel in Anne Arundel County opened its “Sports & Special” sports lounge in April. Customers can watch games and play casino games at the lounge now, with retail sports betting offered through partnership with FanDuel at launch. Plans to seek a mobile license withFanDuel are also in the works.

The casinos qualified for a retail license under “alternative licensing standards” that allow state regulators to expedite a Maryland launch to specific facilities that hold current valid casino licenses. Qualification means that state regulators deem the casinos suitable for a sports wagering facility license, pending a full background check. 

A timeline for completion of the background check hasn’t been released. 

“Staff will complete an extensive background investigation in due course,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) Managing Director for Regulatory Oversight John Mooney wrote to the MLGC Commission today in a memo. 

Recent Developments In Maryland Sports Betting

All 17 venues designated in Maryland’s sports betting law cleared their first sports betting hurdle on Aug. 16, 2021 when the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission voted to accept MLGCC qualification standards as “sufficient” for SWARC to award retail licenses to the venues. SWARC is required to award licenses to the 17 entities, if they apply. 

The 17 locations began applying for sports betting licenses in Maryland on Sept. 14, 2021 through the MLGCC’s eLicensing platform.

Next Steps For Maryland Sports Betting

All 17 venues designated in the state’s sports betting law are assured one of 47 retail licenses available under the law, as long as they pass a required background check and are awarded a license by SWARC. 

The 30 remaining Maryland retail sports betting licenses will be awarded on a competitive basis. A timeline for that licensing process has not been released by regulators, but is expected to be posted on the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Agency website when ready. 

Up to 60 mobile licenses will also be awarded by the state through competitive bid. A timeline for mobile licensing has not been released but isn’t anticipated until sometime in 2022. 


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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