Two Maryland off-track betting (OTB) facilities are one step closer to jumping into the burgeoning Maryland sports betting market.
On Wednesday Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) approved Long Shot’s and Riverboat on the Potomac for in-person (“retail”) sports wagering.
The venues are two of the 17 pre-named entities that the state designated as eligible to receive a license. Other such entities include Maryland casinos, sports venues and horse racing tracks.
OTB locations jump into MD sports betting
The SWARC’s process of approving Long Shot’s and Riverboat on the Potomac was a relatively quick process.
In fact, just a week ago, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission had determined that both venues met the qualification requirements for a sports betting license.
The process was much quicker this time around. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Live! Casino & Hotel, Ocean Downs, MGM National Harbor and Hollywood Casino Perryville all had to wait nearly a month before the SWARC signed off on their applications.
Despite the SWARC’s past delays, these latest speedy approvals are a promising sign for future applicants.
Sports betting could be especially popular at OTBs, where guests can bet on horse races from across the country. These “racebooks” are popular spots for novice and semi-serious gamblers to watch the races and bet on the ponies. Soon, the facility owners will be able to offer retail sports wagering, as well.
Long Shot’s popular with travelers
Long Shot’s is an OTB site in Frederick, MD.
The venue was the first and only 100-percent woman-owned entity named in the sports wagering law for retail licenses.
Alyse Cohen, owner of Long Shot’s, stated she’s happy to be a trailblazer for a diverse sports betting industry:
“We have exciting plans for our retail sportsbook that will make it a centerpiece to the economic and cultural vibrancy of the fastest growing county in the state.”
Long Shot’s officials haven’t yet announced a sportsbook partner, as other venues have.
Since opening in 2019, Long Shot’s has become one of Maryland’s top-performing OTB locations. The Frederick County venue is located right off of I-270 next to a regional shopping mall, so it’s popular with regional travelers.
Although this license is specifically for a retail sports betting license, Long Shot’s will likely look to offer online sports betting, as well. However, that statewide mobile betting won’t be live in Maryland until the second half of 2022, according to officials. So, for now, the focus is on in-person retail betting.
PointsBet at Riverboat on the Potomac
Riverboat on the Potomac is an OTB site, restaurant and lottery retailer located in Colonial, VA, on the VA-MD border. The venue is also a minority-owned business.
Earning license approval was the next step for Riverboat on the Potomac. After all, the venue already has a sportsbook partnership.
Riverboat on the Potomac recently secured a 10-year deal with PointsBet Sportsbook. PB will handle retail betting operations at Riverboat.
The Australian-based bookmaker will also likely make a play in the online market once it’s live in Maryland.
Final steps for sports betting at OTB sites
Before the state officially issues retail betting licenses to Riverboat and Long Shot’s, officials have to complete a final step with Maryland Lottery & Gaming.
Both OTBs will need to undergo controlled demonstrations under the observation of the MD Lottery.
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 sites. Each venue would need to undergo two successful days of the “soft launch” before opening up to the public.
So far, only Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Live! Casino & Hotel and MGM National Harbor have successfully completed the demos. As a result, MGM National Harbor will be launching sports betting on Thursday, Dec.9, and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Live! Casino & Hotel launch on Friday, Dec. 10.
Ocean Downs and Hollywood Casino Perryville, meanwhile, will likely launch retail operations in early 2022.