Five Eligible Businesses Yet To Apply For Maryland Sports Betting Licenses

While five retail casinos are currently offering sports betting in Maryland, 12 other businesses that are guaranteed in-person licenses by state law are not yet operational. Five of those 12 businesses have yet to even submit applications, regulators said Wednesday, according to Gaming Today.

Of the seven remaining businesses, three off-track betting locations (OTBs) have received licenses and will likely open soon, Gaming Today reports. Those locations are Long Shot’s in Frederick, Riverboat on the Potomac (Colonia Beach, Va.), and Greenmount Station in Hampstead. PointsBet is slated to operate the sportsbook at Riverboat on the Potomac.

Four other OTB locations have applied for their licenses, but neither the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency nor the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission has begun vetting the applications. It’s uncertain when that process the first step toward approval will begin for those four businesses.

Jim Nielsen, an MLGCA official, said Wednesday that his agency has been reaching out to the five businesses yet to submit applications. SWARC’s legal team is also reaching out to female and minority business owners to see if they need help with the application process, Gaming Today reports.

Including businesses owned by women and minorities in the licensing process is among the state’s initiatives relating to the legalization of sports betting.

Nielsen told SWARC that some of the five business owners are still debating whether to apply for licenses or if the cost will keep them from doing so.

A Look At The Licensing & Approval Process

SWARC awards in-person sports betting licenses after applicants have been vetted by the MLGCA. Once the licenses are awarded by SWARC, they are issued by MLGCA. State law requires that the 17 entities specified in the state law be awarded licenses if they apply.

In addition to casinos and OTBs, professional sports stadiums, horse racing tracks, and bingo halls with at least 200 electronic instant bingo machines are the other entities specified by state law.

Smaller retailers must pay a $50,000 licensing fee and are taxed at 13% of their winnings. Major retailers, such as the five casinos where sports betting is live, pay a $250,000 licensing fee and have a tax rate of 15% of winnings.

“The license fees are pretty steep for some of these (businesses) so it’s not a trivial choice to buy into the game,” SWARC chairman Tom Brandt said.

Five casinos began offering sports betting in December and have combined for $49 million in betting handle through the end of January.

The five casinos are located in Baltimore (Horseshoe Baltimore Casino; Caesars Sportsbook), Oxon Hill (MGM National Harbor; BetMGM Sportsbook), Hanover (Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland; FanDuel Sportsbook), Berlin (Ocean Downs Casino, TwinSpires Sportsbook), and Perryville (Hollywood Casino; Barstool Sportsbook).

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What’s Next For Maryland Sports Betting Licenses

It remains uncertain when mobile sports betting will launch in Maryland. In fact, the application process to license those looking to operate mobile platforms has yet to commence. The same holds true for retailers not among the 17 initially named by the state planning to apply for licenses.

While each of the 17 venues permitted is allowed to partner with a sportsbook, only six sportsbooks have been approved thus far: Caesars, BetMGM, FanDuel, TwinSpires, Barstool, and PointsBet.

With the possibility of up to 60 sports betting licenses eventually being issued, the state is currently at 10% of that total.

About the Author

Mark Ashenfelter

Mark Ashenfelter is a Connecticut-based sportswriter and editor who has covered everything from NASCAR to the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles. A life-long Philadelphia sports fan, in addition to Penn State football and the Baltimore Orioles, he's previously worked at ESPN, NASCAR Scene magazine and the Daily Local News in Chester County, PA.