The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission announced Thursday that two more sports wagering licenses have been forwarded to a state committee for final approval, and sportsbooks at five casinos in the state are on track to open this month.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) will receive the application from Long Shots, a restaurant and off-track betting facility in Frederick; and Riverboat on the Potomac, an event space with food, off-track betting and lottery games located in Colonial Beach, Va. The Riverboat’s sports gambling space will be located in Maryland, according to the Commission.
Both establishments were on a list of 17 entities designated for sportsbooks in the state law legalizing sports wagering. One of the reasons behind the delay in the license-granting process was a previously announced commitment from lawmakers to include african-american and female-owned businesses in the state’s betting industry, citing a fear that if national-level players were to get a head start, local firms would find it hard to enter the market. The Commission touted both Long Shots and Riverboat as “small businesses with minority and women owners”, addressing these concerns.
Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director, John Martin, said: “We’re extremely happy to see these two locally owned businesses move forward, and we’re eager to continue working with them in the coming weeks to launch their sports wagering operations”.
The SWARC approved sports gambling licenses at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore on November 18, as well as Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover, MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin.
Martin said Thursday that Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff are scheduling two days of controlled demonstrations at the five casinos, a process he likened to a dress rehearsal. “Everything is on pace for the first public openings to happen in December,” Martin said.
The legalization of sports betting in Maryland was partly motivated by the state losing out on potential revenue, as gamblers went to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and D.C. instead. Mobile wagers are slated to come to Maryland next, although the licenses for this form of betting are still months away from being issued.