After a long wait, the launch of sports betting in Maryland is set for this week.
After a long and sometimes frustrating process, the first MD sportsbooks should finally begin accepting legal sports bets on Thursday, Dec. 9.
Maryland will eventually have an online sports wagering market. However, the initial operators will all be retail-based at Maryland casinos and require in-person betting.
MGM National Harbor (partnered with BetMGM online sportsbook) expects to launch sports betting operations on Thursday. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (partnered with Caesars online sportsbook) and Live! Casino & Hotel (teamed with FanDuel online sportsbook) are expected to then launch on Friday, Dec. 10.
Long-awaited launch of sports betting in Maryland
This news of the launch of Maryland sports betting comes nearly three weeks after the MD casinos received sports wagering licenses. All in all, this is a win for the casinos and the burgeoning sports betting market because the NFL Playoffs are right around the corner.
Throughout this week, MGM National Harbor, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, and Live! Casino & Hotel are undergoing controlled demonstrations with Maryland Lottery and Gaming officials.
During the controlled demos, guests will participate in live wagering while MD Lottery officials conduct on-site monitoring to ensure that all systems perform as required. Officials will also verify that operational and revenue reporting controls are operational at the casinos. Each casino will need to undergo two successful days of controlled demonstrations before launching.
However, some of the casinos are pretty optimistic that they’ll go off without a hitch:
Launch parties slated for MD sports betting launch
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Live! Casino & Hotel plan to host ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Friday afternoon ahead of the sports betting launch, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Eager sports bettors and other interested parties are invited to attend.
Special guests for Horseshoe Baltimore’s ceremony include Mayor Brandon Scott, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, former Ravens players Torrey Smith and Adalius Thomas, and former Dunbar and NBA player Muggsy Bogues.
Hogan and former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed are also reportedly scheduled to appear at Live! Casino in Hanover.
This sports betting launch comes at a great time for Marylanders as they have a slate of games to bet on this weekend:
- Friday, Dec. 10: NHL’s Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins
- Saturday, Dec. 11: NBA’s Utah Jazz vs Washington Wizards
- Sunday, Dec. 12: NFL’s Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens
- Sunday, Dec. 12: NFL’s Washington Football Team vs Dallas Cowboys
- Sunday, Dec. 12: Men’s college basketball’s Maryland Terrapins vs Florida Gators
A long time coming for MD casinos
Marylanders have waited quite some time to place a sports bet within state lines.
In October, the MD Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) issued preliminary license approval to five out of six Maryland casinos. But it wasn’t until Nov. 18 that the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) voted to award the five casinos a sports betting license.
It’s been a rigorous process for the MLGCC, SWARC and the casinos that want to offer sports betting. But the launch is finally here.
Launch of sports betting in Maryland OTBs, bingo halls, tracks?
However, Maryland Lottery officials said they don’t have any other potential opening dates for those casinos at this point.
As they said in a statement sent to PlayMaryland:
“Sports wagering at Hollywood Casino and Ocean Downs Casino won’t open this week, but both are working through the final steps to be able to open as soon as possible. “
In addition to casinos, other Maryland venues will soon offer in-person retail betting. Riverboat on the Potomac and Long Shot’s, for example, were among 17 pre-named entities that were eligible for licenses, and they recently received them. The off-track betting (OTB) facilities, as well as race tracks, bingo halls and bars/restaurants, could also soon offer retail betting.
But the market should really begin to boom with the launch of online sports betting in MD. However, with the state’s focus on retail betting, online betting in Maryland likely won’t debut until the second half of 2022.