PointsBet Secures Sports Betting Market Access in Maryland
Maryland’s sports gambling law was purposefully crafted to allow for smaller businesses, particularly minority-owned and women-owned enterprises, to participate in the state’s nascent sports gambling industry.
One such minority business that was vocal at legislative hearings and in work groups as the as Maryland sports betting law was being discussed was The Riverboat on-the-Potomac, a simulcast horse racing facility most Maryland residents are unaware of, largely because of where it’s located, moored at Colonial Beach, Virginia.
However, The Riverboat on-the-Potomac is making history as Maryland’s first minority enterprise joining the sports wagering industry as it announced Thursday a partnership with Australia-based online gambling company PointsBet. The two sides said that they are entering an agreement to provide retail and online sports wagering in Maryland, subject to the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals and licensure.
Riverboat on-the-Potomac has a unique place in Maryland gaming. While moored at Colonial Beach in the Potomac River and catering mostly to patrons from Virginia, the betting lounge, restaurant, liquor store, and other facilities are located over the Maryland state line, which is marked throughout the Potomac, placing it in Maryland’s Charles County.
As a result, the riverboat contributes to Maryland Lottery revenue (the riverboat offers keno) and pays other Maryland state taxes. With the nickname “Little Reno,” the riverboat, between 1950-1968, was one of only the few places in the U.S. where slot machines were available.
PointsBet has operations and services in Australia, the U.S. and Ireland and is battling for market share in America. In the U.S. so far, PointsBet is available in New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado and Michigan.
“We’re excited about this new endeavor and are proud to be partnering with a company that understands and believes in the value of inclusiveness in every facet of the industry, from the owners to the bettors. I am also grateful to the Maryland General Assembly for passing legislation which helped to make this enormous opportunity a reality,” Winston DeLattiboudere, co-managing member of the Riverboat Group, said in a news release. “We look forward to a future filled with phenomenal successes not only for our partners but for the citizens of Maryland and their communities.”
About the MD Sports Betting Law
The Maryland sports gambling law that was signed by Gov. Larry Hogan on May 18 has various categories for retail sportsbooks, based on the size of the business, and allows for as many as 60 online licenses. The law was designed to encourage more diverse ownership.
Still, smaller businesses with sports betting aspirations in Maryland are going to need help getting underway and that appears to be part of the Riverboat-PointsBet partnership. According to terms of the 10-year agreement, PointsBet will be responsible for the licensing and regulatory costs in connection with launching and operating the PointsBet services.
Also, PointsBet will pay to the Riverboat Group online and retail sportsbook market access fees as well as a portion of the net gaming revenues derived from the online and retail sportsbook operations.
“With terrific partners in The Riverboat on-the-Potomac, PointsBet is thrilled to begin the process toward offering the passionate, sports-loving community of Maryland with the fastest and most differentiated sports betting product across every customer touchpoint,” Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO, said in the release.
When Will MD Sports Betting Be Available?
Early indications are that retail sportsbook operations will be up-and-running before online operations throughout the state due to licensing and regulatory issues, some of which are not even fully formed yet. A target date in the state to be operational has been the NFL season, which begins Sept. 9.
As part of the agreement, upon the expiration or termination of the 10-year agreement, PointsBet and the Riverboat Group have negotiated rights related to retention and utilization of client data acquired during the term, with PointsBet retaining the right to utilize client data it has directly acquired via the online channels.
Other gaming companies with market access because of previous casino agreements include: BetMGM with MGM National Harbor; Barstool Sportsbook with Penn National and Hollywood Casino Perryville; TwinSpires with Churchill Downs/Ocean Downs Casino; and Caesars with Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.
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