After a day of speeches and celebrations during Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland’s 10-year anniversary event on Monday, Cordish Companies Chairman and CEO David Cordish questioned Maryland’s legislature sports betting law and its potential fall launch window.
“It is so complex. It will be years, maybe generations before they can figure it out. So, I just don’t think about it. I’m allowed to bet if you come here. I’m gonna make it fantastic. … I hope I’m still around when we have mobile.”
Retail sports betting has been live in Maryland since December 2021. Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland, which boasts an in-person FanDuel sportsbook, has been the most popular. It leads the state’s five casinos that contain sportsbooks with nearly $70.5 million brought in in total handle. That’s roughly 45% of Maryland’s collective handle.
With a national presence, it’s almost assured that FanDuel will get involved online once Maryland launches mobile sports betting. However, when that will be is anyone’s guess.
Hopes dwindling for Maryland NFL online betting this year
The initial hope was the state would have online sports wagering by the time the upcoming NFL season kicks off. However, the official launch awaits the completion of a disparity survey conducted by the state.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) had no update during its last two meetings on where the study is in the process. The commission, in charge of approving all state retail and online licenses, will next meet on June 16.
There have been some reports indicating mobile sports betting may not launch in Maryland until early 2023. State officials, however, remain hopeful it can happen at some point before the end of 2022.
Cordish, 82, later added how lawmakers, in devising a strategy different from all other betting states to help minority- and women-owned businesses, created an overly complicated hurdle that kept Cordish Companies from potentially throwing their hat in the ring.
“What we told them, but then they don’t listen, the legislature, we said if I want to have a sports betting mobile license, say to me, ‘I should have a substantial minority partner.’ Fine. … Just tell me that. I’ll do it.”
Launch of Live!
VIPs made their way into The Hall at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland and listened to Cordish officers and local politicians reminisce about their history in Maryland.
Cordish came to Anne Arundel County as a dark horse in the application process for a casino. Most expected Laurel Racetrack to build on its existing footprint. And when Cordish Companies won the bid, Laurel Racetrack helped fund a referendum to block them from launching (the measure failed with 44% of the vote).
Governor Larry Hogan recorded a statement congratulating Live! on its success: “I’m excited to see what the future holds for this great resort.”
Cordish followed that up by jokingly banning Hogan from returning to his casino after the governor bet (and won) on Navy (+230) to beat Army. “He took too much money from us.”
Cordish also mentioned the potential of expanding the physical footprint of Live! He noted how the surface parking lot in the front of the building is rarely filled and would be perfect for a village of shops and other brick-and-mortar options.
Speakers: Cordish, community in sync
Nearly every speaker joyfully brought up the relationship between the casino and the local government over the past decade. Cordish mentioned how the “laws were very different, they were very restrictive” when citing how they had to close shortly after midnight. Even today, he added that “our taxes are massive.”
County Executive Steuart Pittman then came up and praised Live! for its benefit to the community. “It’s not just the taxes they pay,” he said before voicing his regret for calling out those in favor of the tax relief provisions awarded to the casino.
Senator Pamela Beidle spoke next, describing the acres of trees before the area turned into economic success for the Anne Arundel County. She then mentioned her yes vote to bring gambling to Maryland and her appreciation that “there have been so many great projects that have developed because of this casino.”
Education was a constant theme of the event, from the money generated for the education trust fund to how their children are attending or graduated from Anne Arundel Community College. Live! also became a much-needed space for large events, including hosting the graduation ceremonies for 15 schools (13 high schools and 2 community colleges) this year.
When Live! started to adopt table games, there was a low supply of experienced staff to bring on. Cordish Companies thought up and funded a program in the community college that trained local dealers. The success of this idea led to the announcement by Cordish Companies of a 10-year, $1,000,000 scholarship for those studying casino-related skills at Anne Arundel Community College.