(Baltimore) — Maryland Lottery and Gaming is entering the final phase of efforts to launch sports wagering after the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) awarded licenses to five casinos on Thursday. Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin were all found qualified by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) in October.
The SWARC’s license awards will allow the MLGCC to issue licenses so that sports wagering can launch after each facility completes procedural requirements, including a controlled demonstration of its sports wagering operation.
“We’re excited to move forward, and we’re coordinating closely with the casinos to make sure they finish everything as quickly as they can,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. “Work has been ongoing, and we’re close. Our target is to launch within 30-45 days, which means Marylanders will be able to bet on the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. We couldn’t be happier about that.” The SWARC and the MLGCC both held meetings on Thursday.
After the SWARC awarded the licenses, the MLGCC voted unanimously to delegate to Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff the authority to issue sports wagering licenses to facilities once all required steps have been completed. The move will quicken the pace of the sports wagering rollout, because it will not be necessary for the MLGCC to meet and vote to issue licenses after each facility has successfully completed its controlled demonstration. Similar delegations were made prior to the openings of the state’s casinos. Also in today’s meeting, the MLGCC found PointsBet qualified for a sports wagering operator license. In June, the company announced plans to partner with Riverboat on the Potomac, one of the 17 entities that was designated for licensing in Maryland’s sports wagering law. In affirming PointsBet’s qualifications, the MLGCC delegated to Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff the authority to apply alternative licensing standards, as outlined in state law. The MLGCC may temporarily waive certain requirements for applicants that hold gaming or sports wagering licenses from Maryland or other states where “the licensing standards are comprehensive and thorough and provide similar and adequate safeguards” to those required in Maryland (State Government Article § 9-1E-05).
Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff determined that PointsBet is qualified because it has sports wagering licenses from at least three other states with standards that are similar to those in Maryland. A full licensing investigation of PointsBet is ongoing, and any licenses that are issued may be revoked. Maryland Lottery and Gaming’s Licensing investigators are in frequent contact with additional sports wagering facilities that were designated in the law, whose applications are in progress. State law requires that applicants “establish by clear and convincing evidence” that they are fully qualified before the MLGCC issues a license (State Government Article § 9-1E-07).
“Licensing investigations are quite extensive, so we’re continuously communicating with applicants to guide them through the process,” Martin said. “Our Licensing staff makes sure that applicants are aware if something is missing because we’re eager to see them submit all of the necessary information and complete all the steps so that we can find them qualified for licensing, and send the applicants to the SWARC for award.”
About Maryland Lottery and Gaming Maryland Lottery and Gaming operates the Maryland Lottery and is responsible for regulatory oversight of the state’s casinos and sports wagering program. To keep Marylanders informed and promote integrity and transparency, Maryland Lottery and Gaming posts monthly financial reports on casino revenue at mdgaming.com, along with annual fiscal year data. For more information on all Lottery products, promotions and news, visit mdlottery.com. Maryland Lottery and Gaming reminds players to play responsibly and within their budget; resources are available at mdgamblinghelp.org or by calling 1-800- 426-2537.