Maryland Sports Betting Commences, State Makes History With Woman-Owned License

Posted on: December 9, 2021, 10:09h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2021, 10:34h.

Maryland sports betting is officially underway, the first legal wager being placed at MGM National Harbor this afternoon, Dec. 9.

Maryland sports betting MGM Larry Hogan
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) cuts the tape on the BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge at MGM National Harbor. The event today was to celebrate the start of legal sports betting in Maryland. (Image: Twitter)

After months of state officials seemingly dragging their feet, sportsbooks licenses have been formally issued to five of the state’s six land-based casinos. Live! Casino Hotel Maryland in Hanover near BWI airport, and Horseshoe Baltimore Casino will debut their sportsbooks tomorrow.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and NFL legend Joe Theismann placed the first bets at National Harbor’s BetMGM Sportsbook.

“Today marks the culmination of years of effort to get sports betting up and running here in the state of Maryland,” Hogan declared.

Sports betting licenses for casinos cost a one-time $500,000 upfront fee. Sportsbook gross revenue will be subject to a 15 percent tax. Like slot machine and table game receipts, the state will allocate the sports betting taxes for public education.

Minority Participation

Maryland’s sports betting laws are some of the most complex of the 33 states that have passed regulations to govern gambling activity.

Along with sportsbook privileges reserved for the state’s six casinos, Maryland’s sports betting law creates opportunities for small- and minority-owned businesses to participate. State regulatory officials explained that the delay in issuing casinos their sportsbook licenses was partially due to some members in the Sports Wagering Application and Review Commission (SWARC) believing that the secondary sportsbook rights for mom-and-pop shops should be granted at the same time.

SWARC nonetheless expedited the issuance of the sports gambling permits to the casinos after the land-based gaming properties expressed frustration with the tedious process. But SWARC seemingly also hastened its internal reviews of sportsbook applications for those small businesses.

First Women-Owned Sportsbook

In conjunction with the launch of casino sportsbooks, SWARC announced this week that the first issuance of a sports betting permit for a woman-owned business. It’s the first of its kind in the history of the United States.

SWARC announced the approval of sports betting operations for Long Shot’s restaurant and betting parlor in Frederick. The establishment is fully woman-owned.

I am thrilled to be a trailblazer for a diverse and successful sports betting industry,” said Long Shot’s owner Alyse Cohen.

Long Shot’s has been an off-track betting (OTB) facility since its opening in 2019. Under Maryland’s sports betting law, such licensed establishments must partner with a sportsbook operator that is also licensed to conduct internet sports gambling. Maryland can issue as many as 60 mobile/online sportsbook licenses to firms like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars Sportsbook.

Long Shot’s did not unveil a third-party partner. Before the restaurant can install standalone sports betting kiosks, final approval must still come from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission.

Big Ten First

In related sports betting news, the University of Maryland became the first Big Ten school to announce a sports betting partnership. The Terps and PointsBet have struck a deal that will allow the sportsbook company to have a presence at the college’s home athletic events.

PointsBet is gaining market access in Maryland through its partnership with the Riverboat on the Potomac, which was the second and only other small business to be granted initial sports betting privileges by SWARC. The OTB and events facility is minority-owned.