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Maryland Gaming Commission Approves Partnerships Between Casinos, Sportsbook Operators

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — While sports betting licenses for five local casinos remain in limbo, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission on Thursday approved partnerships between sportsbook operators and the casinos awaiting final approval from a state commission.

“Today we had good news Maryland lottery and gaming control com soon approved the five facility operators for sports wagering,” said John Martin, Director Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

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As WJZ reported, the state panel that has the final say on sports betting licenses did not take any action on those applications Wednesday, instead moving to ask casinos for more information.

The applications from Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover, MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin were all forwarded by the gaming commission to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) for final approval in October.

It’s not yet clear when the five casinos will be able to open sportsbooks. SWARC’s next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 18.

But the gaming commission approved the licenses of companies that will each operate sportsbooks in partnership with the casinos, which is not subject to the approval of SWARC.

All five companies have sports wagering licenses in at least three other states with similar regulations to Maryland, the gaming commission said.

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The agreements are:

  • Barstool Sports, partner of Hollywood Casino in Perryville
  • Caesars Sportsbook, partner of Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore
  • FanDuel Sportsbook, partner of Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover
  • BetMGM, partner of MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill
  • TwinSpires, partner of Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin

“We’re obviously disappointed by the lack of progress in yesterday’s SWARC meeting, but we’re pleased that we’ve moved forward in other areas,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. “The delay is likely to push sports wagering back until after the New Year. At this point, we are hoping to make the NFL playoffs in January and the Super Bowl in February.”

Now, Marylanders will have to wait even longer to start betting which some say is frustrating.

“It’s extremely disappointing. Most of the group of friends that I know that like to make a wager on Sunday football games they drive up to Delaware,” said Gabe Wollner.

If SWARC approves the licenses at its next meeting “and all goes well,” the casinos would be able to open sportsbooks by the start of 2022, Martin said.

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