Maryland Sports Betting Debuts With Gov. Larry Hogan’s NFL Futures Wager

Written By Chelsea T. Johnson on December 9, 2021
First Maryland sports bet

Legal sports wagering is officially underway after Gov. Larry Hogan placed the first Maryland sports bet on Thursday at MGM National Harbor.

Hogan placed the historic wager at 12:50 p.m. in Oxon Hill at MGM National Harbor’s BetMGM Sports Book & Lounge.

With the state’s debut wager, Hogan placed an NFL futures bet on the Washington Football Team to face the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl LVI.

First Maryland sports bet: WFT-Ravens Super Bowl

The first Maryland sports bet has been a time coming for many, including Hogan.

For this initial rollout, Maryland will offer only in-person retail betting. Not until 2022 will bettors get what’s expected to be a robust mobile and online market.

In states with both, retail sports betting usually accounts for just 10-20% of a market. But as the only show in town for now, Thursday’s launch of retail betting in MD was a ceremonious and festive affair.

Hogan specifically talked about the potential tax revenue and boost to the economy:

“In addition to allowing Marylanders to bet on the NFL, March Madness and more, sports betting will also help to keep more dollars in-state and will provide another critical revenue source for public education without raising taxes on families and small businesses.”


As for that historic first bet? Hogan didn’t go with a traditional wager type. Instead, he put together a parlay and predicted that the two teams that play home games in Maryland will also play in Super Bowl 2022:

  • Washington Football Team to win the NFC: +5000
  • Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC: +700

With Hogan suggesting he’ll earn a payoff of more than $20,000, he likely bet $50 on his longshot parlay.

After Hogan, other bettors soon placed their wagers:

MGM National Harbor welcomes sports bettors

BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge is one of three staffed locations for sports betting at MGM National Harbor.

The 8,000-square-foot facility features wraparound video walls, multiple sports betting kiosks and mobile food/beverage operations. In total, the sportsbook has seven betting windows and 15 kiosks.

Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM, released a statement after the launch:

“The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge at MGM National Harbor is a key component to making the Capital Region one of the country’s premier sports betting hubs. In partnership with the MGM National Harbor team, we’ve designed a world-class destination for sports fans.”

Sports bettors can also place wagers at MGM National Harbor’s TAP Sports Bar. This venue has four kiosks and four betting windows. MGM National Harbor also has seven kiosks and five betting windows on the second level, and nine betting kiosks on the main floor.

A timeline of Maryland sports betting

Prior to Thursday’s launch, MGM National Harbor had to undergo two days of successful controlled demonstrations with MD Lottery & Gaming.

During this “soft launch,” guests participated in live wagering while MD Lottery officials ensured that the facility complied with all required procedures. It also made that its systems and revenue reporting controls functioned properly.

In a statement, MD Lottery & Gaming Director John Martin said:

“It’s hard to overstate how exciting this moment is; we couldn’t be happier to see sports wagering get started. … It’s a new form of entertainment that we know Marylanders will enjoy, but more importantly, it’s delivering a new stream of revenue for public education in the state. We’re especially proud of that.”

This is a moment Marylanders have been waiting for since November 2020, when they voted in favor of a sports betting referendum. It wasn’t until May of this year when that Hogan signed sports betting into law.

In October, the MD Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) issued preliminary license approvals to five out of six Maryland casinos. But it wasn’t until Nov. 18 when the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARCvoted to officially award the resorts a sports betting license.

It’s been a rigorous process, to say the least, but the long-awaited launch is finally here.

Two casinos to launch on Friday

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Live! Casino & Hotel plan to launch their sports betting operations on Friday. Before the launch, both casinos are hosting ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

Live! Casino & Hotel’s ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. Hogan and NFL Hall of Famer Ed Reed are among the list of special guests slated to attend.

Meanwhile, special guests for Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s ceremony include Hogan, Mayor Brandon Scott, former Ravens players Torrey Smith and Adalius Thomas, and former Dunbar and NBA player Muggsy Bogues.

Additionally, Ocean Downs in Berlin, Hollywood Casino Perryville, Long Shot’s in Frederick and Riverboat on the Potomac in Colonial, VA are expected to open their operations in early 2022. The SWARC has awarded a sports betting license to all of these facilities, but they’re currently completing numerous required tasks prior to launching.

When the sports wagering market fully launches, with both retail and online betting, the General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services estimates that it will contribute $15 million to $25 million per year to education funding.

Photo by AP / Julio Cortez
Chelsea T. Johnson Avatar
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Chelsea T. Johnson

Chelsea Johnson is a seasoned journalist with experience working as a reporter for WJAC-TV, 105.7 The Fan WJZ-FM, and FOX Sports Radio in Washington, DC. Her work also includes making an impact in the top newsrooms in the country at WBAL-TV in Baltimore and ESPN in Bristol, CT.

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