Maryland sports gambling clears hurdle for more casinos to take bets

After months of delays, sports gambling took a big step towards the goal like in Maryland on Thursday as a state commission approved five casinos to start taking sports bets.

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Maryland sports gambling was approved by voters in November 2020. However, it took a year for the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to finally approve Live! Casino in Anne Arundel County, MGM National Harbor, Horseshoe in Baltimore, Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs on the Eastern Shore.

Maryland Lottery Director John Martin tells FOX 5 this is a big step forward.

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"This morning, the SWARC approved the five licenses that we had passed along," he says. "They were qualified, they’ve now been awarded a license and so now we're ready to work very closely with the casinos to get them up and running. Our plans at this point are about the next 30-45 days."

Maryland Live has already partnered with the Fandual sportsbook and created a new 212 seat "sports and social" venue with 47-foot screens and a state-of-the-art sound system.

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President of Live! Casino Rob Norton tells FOX 5 they've used the delay to create a venue that has the potential to be a game-changer by marrying in-game wagering with entertainment and food venues unlike any currently seen in the industry. 

"It’s not an easy path in any case, so this type of frustration what you’d call it, or what I’d say is part of the process, is not abnormal, and you know we would have loved to have been up and running sooner but we’re happy that we are where we are today," he says.

Sports wagering is expected to generate as much as $20 million for Maryland in the first year.


In a statement, Gov. Larry Hogan says he is pleased with the commission's action to approve the licenses, adding his administration is going to get sports betting up and running in the state as quickly as possible.