Two More Retail Sportsbooks In Queue For Upcoming Maryland Launch

Two more retail sportsbooks are in the queue for upcoming launch in Maryland. 

Greenmount Station in Hampstead and Riverboat on the Potomac are “working closely” with state gaming regulators to launch their in-person sportsbooks, according to testimony from Maryland Lottery and Gaming (MLG) regulators before the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) today. 

Both facilities are among three OTBS that have been awarded retail sports betting licenses by SWARC but are waiting for final regulatory approval from MLG to launch. The other is Frederick-based OTB Long Shot’s. Also awarded a license but awaiting final regulatory approval is Bingo World in Baltimore. 

“We’ve been working closely with Greenmount and Riverboat especially,” said MLG official Jim Nielsen. Much of the current focus is on internal controls and responsible gaming plans at those facilities, he said. 

“So they’re progressing. Both are doing construction. They’re trying to move ahead as quickly as they can. But carefully,” said Nielsen.  

What’s Next For The Four Pending Retail Licensees? 

The final regulatory step for all three OTBs and Bingo World are “controlled demonstrations,” or pre-launch live wagering events observed by regulators to ensure operations are ready for public launch. Those demonstrations have yet to be scheduled.

And there are additional potential licensees on the way, said Nielsen.

“We have several under review, and we’re working with them,” Nielsen told SWARC.  

Greenmount, Riverboat on the Potomac, Long Shot’s and Bingo World are all among the 17 facilities guaranteed a retail sportsbook license under a 2021 state law, pending state regulatory background checks. 

Only five of the 17 have launched so far, all five which are casinos. Those are MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Live! Casino in Hanover, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore City, Hollywood Casino in Perryville, and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin. 

At least 47 retail licenses – including the 17 designated licenses – and 60 mobile licenses are possible under a 2021 Maryland state law. A required competitive-bidding process for the 30 additional retail licenses and the 60 mobile licenses are still in the planning stage. 

When Will Mobile Sports Betting Come to Maryland? 

Maryland sports betting launched in December 2021, with Governor Larry Hogan placing the first legal bet at the MGM National Harbor casino on Dec. 9.

No additional retail sportsbooks have launched since last year. And the application process for mobile sportsbooks may still be months away. 

One possible reason for the delay is that SWARC has yet to adopt regulations governing the competitive bidding process for mobile sports betting and non-designated retail licenses. Those regulations will set out applicant requirements, including business plan and MBE (minority business enterprise) participation as required by law. 

“Regulations are being drafted that will govern the competitive licensing process that the SWARC is authorized to conduct,” the SWARC website stated today. 

The Governor’s MBE Compliance Manager Gerald Stinnett told SWARC today that goal-setting for MBE is progressing, but didn’t elaborate.

“We’re getting the information we need to be able to set those MBE goals,” said Stinnett. 

Disparity Study Pending

Also pending completion is a disparity study that SWARC wants to complete prior to setting a regulatory timeline for mobile and online betting. The study will assist in a key SWARC mission: ensuring racial, ethnic, and gender equity in the licensing process. 

Maryland Assistant Attorney General David Stamper didn’t give a public update on that study when asked about it today by MLG Commission Chair Randy Marriner. 

 “I tell you what. I’ll send you an email as to why we’re not providing an update,” said Stamper, agreeing to send the email to all SWARC commissioners.

Meanwhile state regulators continue to educate hopeful sports betting licensees about the process as it stands now, and what may be to come. Regular updates are posted by SWARC on its website. 

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer 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, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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