The annual Maryland State Fair kicked off Thursday, but that’s not the Timonium-based fairground’s only big announcement. The fairgrounds will also soon be gaining a new resident.
DraftKings Sportsbook was officially granted license to operate at the fairgrounds under its subsidiary, Crown MD Gaming LLC during a Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) meeting Thursday.
Maryland commission critiques DraftKings financials
Now that the MLGCC has approved DraftKings for Maryland sports betting, the application now advances to Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission for their approval. The vote there is also expected to pass.
The sportsbook’s approval didn’t come without consideration, however.
Unlike other applicant investigations, the MLGCC questioned DraftKings’ business strategy and even the company’s financial stability. Between 2017-2021, DraftKings lost over $3 billion as they expanded into new markets.
The commission’s worry reached a point where committee staff contacted DraftKings for reassurance in its monetary status going forward.
Sportsbook operators to undergo annual review
While most license applications go through little or no Q&A with members, Chairman E. Randolph Marriner questioned Joe DeCristofaro of DraftKings during Thursday’s meeting:
“You’ve lost $3 billion . . . it seems that you are excited that you are only going to lose another $800 million this year. These numbers are quite staggering to me. What is your outlook?”
“The outlook is extremely positive. We are standing up a brand new business . . . We are gaining scale and profitability will improve.”
Commission member Harold Hodges also brought up DraftKing’s financials, saying that he sees a disconnect and believes it would be “a poor decision on our part . . . to approve DraftKings”
John Mooney, managing director of regular oversight, reassured the group that in light of DraftKings’
financial situation, Maryland will conduct annual operator reviews going forward rather than every 5 years, as is currently in place.
DraftKings joins Maryland State Fair amenities
DraftKings has long been one of the largest betting operators without a sportsbook or upcoming
sportsbook in Maryland. M&T Arena announced a partnership with DraftKings last year. However, they also signed agreements with Caesars and MGM.
The Maryland State Fairgrounds are located just north of Baltimore, and they host a wide array of events after the State Fair ends in September. These events include:
- lacrosse games
- farmers markets
- food truck festivals
- a racetrack
The racetrack portion of the fairgrounds is where the sportsbook is set to call home. As part of the agreement, DraftKings will share the cost of constructing the sportsbook and will pay for all equipment and personnel.
With its debut at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, DraftKings will join the ever-growing list of venue-sportsbook partnerships in the state:
- Maryland Live! Casino – FanDuel
- BingoWorld – BetRivers
- Horseshoe Casino – Caesars
- MGM National Harbor – MGM
- Hollywood Casino – Barstool
- Riverboat on the Potomac – PointsBet
- Long Shot’s – Betfred
- Ocean Downs Casino – Twinspires
- Camden Yards – SuperBook
- Maryland State Fairgrounds – DraftKings
- Greenmount Station – TBD
- The Jockey Bar and Grille – TBD
- FedEx Field – TBD
- M&T Arena – TBD
Maryland casino violations
In Thursday’s meeting, the MLGCC also announced that several casinos have violated state regulations.
Hollywood Casino, Horseshoe Casino, MGM National Harbor, and Rocky Gap Casino all committed unnamed regulatory violations. MGM National Harbor acknowledged that they had an underage gambler at their casino.
Along with receiving an undisclosed fine, each casino is responsible for making the appropriate adjustments to their facility.
Rocky Gap Casino sold
As Maryland’s casinos presented their monthly numbers to the commission, Rocky Gap began by requesting the MLGCC to refrain from asking public questions about the recent announcement that parent company Golden Entertainment is selling Rocky Gap.
Century Casinos Inc. will purchase the operations, building, and land for $260 million. Parties expect the sale to go through in mid-2023.
Currently, Rocky Gap is the only Maryland Casino without a retail sportsbook. Moreover, the casino has yet to begin the application process for obtaining a sportsbook license.