Maryland is not missing out on the sports betting legalization wave that has had a nationwide impact. It was last Friday, November 19, when the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission (MLGCC) announced that the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) was moving along the approval process for betting licenses.
To be specific: a total of five betting licenses are being granted to a handful of land-based casinos. The list of the five casinos recently approved was also released and officialized on Thursday, November 18. This means that, as of this month, Penn National’s Hollywood Casino in the town of Perryville, followed by the state’s second-largest casino, Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe Casino in the city of Baltimore, as well as Churchill Downs’ Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, Cordish Companies’ Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover and the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill are cleared to start receiving sports wagers.
With a handful of land-based casinos in the state, many questions remain. There could be more casinos on their way to receive sports wagering licenses, and additional casinos not already involved could take advantage of this benefit this same year. One of the most highly-positioned doubts still centers on online sports betting. According to MLGCC’s officials, everything is being taken one step at a time.
MLGCC to Push For More Upcoming Approvals
Although everything is being taken one step at a time, the MLGCC is also making sure these are not mildly short. The MLGCC stated that they have also narrowed down a very specific set of individuals that will act as authorities to study and validate additional license requirements from more applicants. According to MLGCC Director John Martin, everything is moving smoothly and they are making this whole process more agile.
Martin mentioned that sports licensing investigations are processes that don’t come cheap. That is why the MLGCC is working closely with the newly-approved casinos to get everything working properly. Yet, it was also mentioned that approximately 17 casino approvals are also undergoing the investigation process. This means more sports wagering sites will come to Maryland in the following months.
Maryland’s Legal Sports Betting Market – Online Wagering on Track
Although online sports wagering is on track, it is still not on a short path to reality. Although 17 more licenses are undergoing their approval process, online sports wagering, according to MLGCC authorities, is still months away.
However, it makes sense to have all land-based operations properly set up prior to expanding the market’s reach online. According to MLGCC commissioner Frank Turner, it would have been great to have seen online operations involved in this first approval wave. However, Turner added that these casinos are very well known by the MLGCC, and that is why it was easy for the approvals to be processed at a faster rate. He mentioned that this is a first solid step and that in the following months, there is no doubt multiple license requests will come not only from land-based casinos.
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