Maryland’s Crab Sports Eager To Take On Big-Name Sportsbooks

Written By Ethan Matthew on July 15, 2022
Maryland's Crab Sports is eager to take on the big-name sportsbooks

Crab Sports is proud of its local roots. The Maryland sportsbook aims to give customers “a truly local experience” when online sports betting launches in the state. Maryland’s Crab Sports is eager to take on the big-name sportsbooks.

Marylanders are still waiting on the state sports commission to provide a concrete timeline for the launch of mobile sports betting. Sports Wagering Application Review Commission Chairman Thomas Brandt is urging patience.

Entering the online sports betting market

When online sports betting does begin, Crab Sports expects to be first in line for a license. Crab Sports was founded in 2021 “to give its customers in Maryland a differentiated, truly ‘local’ experience which offers them a compelling value proposition over and above the nationally recognized sportsbooks.”

For co-founder Derek Baker and his team, it all started when Maryland passed a unique sports betting bill. Baker describes it as “an open and competitive market, which is far more welcoming to new entrants.”

In Virginia, the top four sportsbooks process over 90% of the state’s handle. Maryland hopes for a more even landscape filled with smaller sportsbooks. Crab Sports saw a viable path to throw its hat in the ring.

Crab Sports’ approach is ‘walk before you run’

While they anticipate a difficult environment, they see their team and their vision as a difference-maker, Baker said.

“Our background is a combination of finance (private equity & investment banking) and operational experience founding and scaling in some of the most competitive online gaming markets in the world.”

Baker grew up in the area and spent his childhood in Calvert County “crabbing, fishing, and doing every watersport possible.” He sees his company joining the likes of Ledos, National Bohemian and Old Bay as coveted Maryland brands.

Baker imagines Crab Sports to be competitive in what they expect to be a packed field of sportsbooks. But they are prudent when it comes to goals. They are taking a “walk before you run” approach.

“Our dream is set out in stages,” Baker said.

Crab Sports partners with GiG

Gaming Innovation Group recently announced a deal with Crab Sports. They’ll provide their technical platform, data and content managing system to the Maryland startup. The companies estimate a total of $217 million in revenue will up for grabs in Year 1.

GiG CEO Richard Brown said his company looks for companies like Crab Sports to work with.

“This type of deal is directly in our wheelhouse, helping challenger brands drive value and enter newly regulated markets, showcasing our product in the soon-to-be-open Maryland market.”

Baker echoed that sentiment.

“[I]t was always going to take a long time. What often gets lost amongst frustrated patrons is that it was written into law that the SWARC award competitive licenses to ensure an inclusive industry within Maryland.”

Photo by Crab Sports
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Ethan Matthew

Ethan Matthew was born and raised in Silver Spring and has written articles for PlayVirginia and George Washington University's HNN. He also researched and wrote content for museum exhibits in both Boston and Washington, DC.

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