Retail Sports Betting to Become a Reality in Maryland
The process of legalizing sports betting in Maryland has been an uphill battle as there were heavy opposition and more studies needed to be done to go forth with the operation. However, the Maryland sports betting industry may come to fruition as soon as this week.
If everything goes as planned without any delay, Maryland will be the eleventh state to welcome sports betting to the state. The potential launch was sooner than expected as many experts and those involved believed that the operation would launch by January.
According to a Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency spokesperson stated that MGM National Harbor can launch its retail sportsbook as early as this Thursday through a controlled demonstration.
This will be a soft launch as many other states have used the same tactics. This means there will be a limit on the number of wagers, and a limited number of people will be able to partake in this milestone.
MGM National Harbor will be taking wagers at 12:30 pm on Thursday all pending official regulatory approval. Gov. Larry Hogan will be in attendance as he was a supporter of bringing sports betting to Maryland. Former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann will also be joining Gov. Hogan for the launch.
Live! Casino Maryland (FanDuel) and Horseshoe Casino (Caesars) are also getting ready to launch their retail sportsbooks also in downtown Baltimore. Both of these casinos plan to open their retail sportsbooks on Friday this week.
Live! Casino plans to have former Baltimore Raven legend Ed Reed place the first bet as part of the opening ceremony at 9:30 am. These two casinos will be the first gaming facilities to open their doors first out of the five casinos that were awarded licenses on November 18th.
Former Ravens running back Walter Sanders who is currently a boxer is also excited that sports betting will be legal in Maryland. Sanders went on to say, “People love sports. Sports makes the world go round,…Instead of going all the way to Las Vegas or New York or any different states, bringing it here in Maryland and Baltimore (will) be tremendous for the city. It brings excitement.”
Horseshoe Casino will become the official casino partner of the Baltimore Ravens. For its opening ceremony, the facility will have Torrey Smith and Adalius Thomas in attendance who are also former Raven players.
The Sports Betting Market Will Continue to Grow in Maryland
Looking at neighboring states like West Virginia that have benefited from implementing mobile sports betting, 65 percent of the market’s revenue comes from mobile sports betting according to the West Virginia Lottery. However, Maryland is still far away from allowing mobile wagers to take place.
Still, residents in the state can look forward to Hollywood Casino Perryville (Barstool), Ocean Downs (TwinSpires), and Horseshoe Casino (Caesars) offering their products soon. Riverboat on the Potomac and Long Shot’s in Frederick are other venues that can house retail sportsbooks.
Licenses are expected to be handed out on December 8th, which would expedite the launching process for other sportsbooks that want to join the market.