Long Shot’s of Frederick, a hybrid restaurant and off-track betting venue, finalized an agreement Wednesday with Betfred Sports. In the deal, Betfred will operate a sportsbook at the facility.
It’s been seven months since sports betting became legal in Maryland. Betfred Sports’ new sportsbook at Long Shot’s will become the sixth to open since December. Long Shot’s will also become the first 100% female-owned business in Maryland to open a sportsbook.
Betfred Sports is a subsidiary of U.K.-based Betfred, which opened its first betting venue in 1967. Long Shot’s CEO Alyse Cohen said her company is “thrilled” about the deal.
“We were at the forefront of bringing sports betting to Maryland and specifically to Frederick … [and] are thrilled to open a sportsbook at Long Shot’s in partnership with Betfred Sports. We are proud that Long Shot’s is one of the premier off-track betting locations in the state and we look forward to achieving similar success with sports wagering. Long Shot’s will not only boost the local economy but contribute to enhancing the education of our students.”
Retail sportsbook will open in September
Betfred’s sportsbook is expected to open in September, just in time for the NFL season. The retail location will offer in-person betting windows and self-serve kiosks.
Currently, the OTB operation at Long Shot’s provides 14 tellers to take bets. It features 88 TVs with continuous coverage of horse racing. Adding the sportsbook will expand the facility’s offerings and make it one of the more unique betting locations in the state.
Betfred Sports Chief Operating Officer Bryan Bennett said the company targeted Long Shot’s early on in its search for a suitable retail site.
“We identified Long Shot’s very early when searching for a Maryland partner. When combining Betfred’s 50 years of bookmaking experience and Long Shot’s success with off-track betting, we believe this will be a formidable partnership to compete in the Maryland sports betting space.”
Permanent sportsbook and online betting planned
Betfred said it plans to open a permanent facility early next year. The sportsbook will be nearly 9,000 square feet. It will include a video wall and theater-style seating, as well as “robust” food and drink offerings. It will offer online sports betting soon after Maryland launches it.
It’s possible that Betfred’s permanent retail sportsbook will open before online sports betting does. Some reports have suggested mobile betting in Maryland won’t begin until 2023.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) is being methodical about the licensing process. SWARC oversees the regulatory process for the mobile sports betting launch. It works in conjunction with Maryland Lottery to issue sports betting licenses.
SWARC’s deliberate approach isn’t winning any fans, Gov. Larry Hogan included. Last month, the Maryland governor sent SWARC a scathing letter prodding the commission to speed up the process.
“Our state and its citizens deserve clear and definitive action from SWARC and a legal, transparent framework to place mobile bets — not endless bureaucratic roadblocks that continue to hold back progress.”
Retail sportsbook a big win for CEO
Cohen’s push to make sports betting legal in Maryland seems to be paying off. Long Shot’s is the first all-female-owned business to secure a sports betting license in the state. It was also one of just four entities in Maryland to do so outside of the five state casinos that boast sportsbooks.
- Long Shot’s
- Greenmount Station
- Bingo World
None of the businesses above have opened a physical sportsbook just yet. Riverboat (PointsBet) and Bingo World (BetRivers) both have operating partnerships in place, however, with the intention to eventually boast an in-person book.
Cohen’s family and businesses have been based in Frederick for more than nearly 80 years. She sees herself as a pioneer of diversity in the state’s sports betting industry.
“I am thrilled to be a trailblazer for a diverse and successful sports betting industry in the state of Maryland.”