Three Maryland Casinos Closer to Sports Betting Licenses

Three Maryland Casinos Closer to Sports Betting Licenses
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Three Maryland casinos are set to receive sports betting licenses.

On Wednesday, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) determined that the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover and MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill have met the requirements for a sports wagering license.

The three casinos are among 17 that were designated in the state’s sports betting law to conduct sports wagering operations, pending a review of their qualifications to receive licenses. The applications from each facility will now be forwarded to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), which is tasked with awarding licenses.

Maryland Casinos Easily Approved

The SWARC voted unanimously in August that the MLGCC’s qualification standards are enough for the SWARC to award licenses to the 17 designated entities in Maryland.

"We're pleased to have these three applicants approved and move them along to the SWARC,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said in a media release. “Our team is diligently implementing the sports wagering law, and we're one step closer to the first in-person wagers, which we hope will take place by late fall.”

The MLGCC delegated to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency the authority to apply alternative licensing standards as outlined in state law. The MLGCC may waive certain requirements for applicants that have licenses from Maryland or other states where “the licensing standards are comprehensive and thorough and provide similar and adequate safeguards” to those required in Maryland.

The MLGCA determined Horseshoe, Live! and MGM are qualified because they already have gaming licenses in the state. Maryland’s licensing investigations on the three sports betting operations remain ongoing and any licenses that have been issued could be revoked.

Next, after the SWARC meets on Oct. 14 and formally awards the licenses, the MLGCA staff will make sure the three licensees have finalized their systems of internal controls and met other operational requirements before issuing the licenses. The MLGCA is working with the casinos to expedite these tasks.

Maryland Sports Betting

Maryland legalized sports betting on May 18 when Gov. Larry Hogan signed the sports wagering bill into law. The bill allows for both retail and online wagering and is intent on being as inclusive as possible regarding who can take part in the state’s gambling market.

Under the bill, Maryland residents can place bets in-person at casinos, racetracks and other retail locations such as pro sports facilities and possibly bars and restaurants. People can also wager from their homes on their phones or other mobile devices.

In November 2020, voters approved sports betting in Maryland by a 2-to-1 margin. The state’s constitution requires voter approval for expanded gambling. Maryland already has in-person casino betting, horse racing, the lottery and bingo.