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Five Casinos Awarded Sports Betting Licenses After Several Months

Long slog for Maryland sports betting to become operational
Posted: 12:16 PM, Nov 18, 2021
Updated: 2021-11-18 18:12:01-05
Sports Betting

BALTIMORE — After several months, a key commission has awarded five casinos their sports betting licenses.

Early Thursday morning, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) met virtually to discuss several aspects of how the industry will work, once its operational.

RELATED: Baltimore betting bogged down by bureaucracy

Sports betting became officially legal in Maryland earlier this year, but as part of the legalization, businesses had to be licensed.

Casinos that were automatically submitted for applications - and were hoping to get up and running in late summer.

Sports Betting
A gambler watches sporting events on large screens at the FanDuel sportsbook in East Rutherford N.J. on Aug. 30, 2021. The American Gaming Association says 45.2 million Americans plan to bet on NFL games this season, up 36% from last year. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

However, SWARC didn't hold its first public meeting until mid-August.

RELATED: One small step closer to placing sports bets in Maryland

During today's meeting, the issue of timing moving forward was brought up.

Rosie Allen-Herring, a member of SWARC, said "There's still so much work to be done in establishing the regulations, I'd like to ensure that we get there sooner, quicker, faster, because of course that will help expedite the ability to move the other licenses forward."

Chairman Tom Brandt agreed. "You're preaching to the choir," he responded to Allen-Herring.

He added, "there's heavy lifting to be done."

Connecticut Gambling
Zach Young, of New Haven, Conn., places a bet at one of the new sports wagering kiosks at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Young says he's been "waiting for this day," recalling how he'd often scroll through sports betting apps he couldn't play in preparation. The unveiling of temporary sports betting venues at the state's two tribal casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, mark the first step in the rollout of Connecticut's new law legalizing sports and online wagering. (AP Photo/Susan Haigh)

Five casinos, were approved by the the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to operate sports betting, back in early October.

However, the process required those applications to then be submitted to SWARC, and they had to initiate their own review process and requested additional materials from the five entities at their last meeting.

sports betting
Screens show sports and betting odds in the sports book as workers finish work at the Circa Resort & Casino, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas. The casino is scheduled to open in downtown Las Vegas in October. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Now, five casinos have been approved by SWARC to make sports wagering operational, in a 5-2 vote.

Those are Live! Casino & Hotel, MGM National Harbor, Oceans Downs Casino, Hollywood Casino, and Horseshoe Casino.

Commission member Frank Turner, one of the two votes against, wanted to explain his vote, saying he wasn't against awarding the casinos the licenses, but that he would've preferred to have waited and included other firms that have already applied or are in the process of applying. He felt that it was an issue of equity.