Maryland Sports Betting to Launch on Friday

Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens. Joe Sargent/Getty Images/AFP

Maryland will become the latest state to offer legal sports betting when a FanDuel Sportsbook in Hanover opens its doors on Friday. Five casinos were awarded licenses to open retail sportsbooks in the Old Line State at a special Maryland State Lotter and Gaming Control Agency meeting last month.

They include Horseshoe Casino, which will host a Caesars Sportsbook, and MGM National Harbor, which will feature a BetMGM Sportsbook. Yet the FanDuel Sportsbook at Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover will be the first to launch when it commences trading on Friday.

Everything is on Pace

“Everything is on pace for the first public openings to happen in December,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. “The facilities and the public are eager to get started, and so are we.” The sportsbook will need to complete two days of controlled demonstrations before it can open, which is a requirement of state law. Guests can place bets under the supervision of Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff.

“They serve as a dress rehearsal for the facilities and their staffs, and they allow Maryland Lottery and Gaming to assure the public that these operations are ready to go.” Live! Casino and Hotel are owned by The Cordish Companies. It hosts a FanDuel Sportsbook at its casino in Pennsylvania – Live Casino & Hotel Philadelphia – and this is an extension of the partnership between the companies.

A Long Time Coming

Voters in Maryland approved sports betting in the November 2020 ballot. A legal sports betting bill, HB 940, then passed the Maryland House by a vote of 130-9 in March 2021. There were a few tweaks to the bill in the Senate, but it passed unanimously on April 12, and those tweaks were then rubber-stamped by the House.

Gov. Larry Hogan signed HB 940 into law on May 18, 2021. BetMGM quickly seized upon the opportunity by tying up a deal to become the official gaming partner of the Baltimore Ravens, with advertising going up at the M&T Stadium. The deal was announced the day after Hogan signed the bill.

“The Ravens are an incredible organization with a rich history, and we’re proud to have BetMGM as the team’s first official partner in the gaming space,” said Matt Prevost, chief revenue officer at BetMGM.

“We look forward to offering Ravens fans new ways to engage with their favorite football team on our market-leading platforms. Since May, legislators have been working on the regulatory framework for sports betting in the state and approving licenses. Bettors have waited a long time to place legal wagers, so excitement is high.

PointsBet Gains Regulatory Approval

PointsBet has also secured market access by tying up a deal with the Riverboat on the Potomac. It was granted a license from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency last week. Bettors in Maryland will soon have several options when they want to wager at legal online sportsbooks. However, online sports betting will not begin until 2022.

Right now, residents can head over the border into the neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia to enjoy legal online sports betting. Delaware only permits land-based sports betting at the state’s three casinos.

Online sports betting is now legal in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, and in the District of Columbia.

Retail and tribal sports betting is also taking place in Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, and North Carolina. Florida briefly launched legal online sports betting last month, but it has now ended amid a legal dispute.