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Five Maryland casinos are one step closer to sports betting

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission approved sportsbook operators to partner with casinos to allow sports gambling. But, there's one final hurdle.

WASHINGTON — A number of well-known sports gambling operators could soon be opening their doors to customers hoping to hit it big on their favorite teams. But, the final hurdle was pushed back Thursday.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission (MLGCC) approved five sportsbook operators to partner with five casinos across Maryland to allow sports gambling, once their licenses are approved by the review commission.

The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) deferred awarding licenses to the sportsbooks until mid-November, asking for more information from the casinos. That license would be the final step needed to see sports gambling in the partnering casinos.

Maryland Lottery Gaming Director John Martin expressed displeasure but optimism at the ultimate goal.

"We’re obviously disappointed by the lack of progress in yesterday’s SWARC meeting, but we’re pleased that we’ve moved forward in other areas," Martin said. "The delay is likely to push sports wagering back until after the New Year."

The Sportsbooks and the casinos they'll partner with are:

  • Barstool Sports, partner of Hollywood Casino in Perryville
  • Caesars Sportsbook, partner of Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore
  • FanDuel Sportsbook, partner of Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover
  • BetMGM, partner of MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill
  • TwinSpires, partner of Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin

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Instead of awarding the licenses, the SWARC approved a motion asking all entities for supplemental information within seven days. After another review, the SWARC will meet again on Nov. 18 to decide.

MLGCC staff determined that all five companies applying are qualified because they each have sports wagering licenses from at least three other states with standards that are similar to those in Maryland.

The path to sports betting in Maryland has been a long and legally winding one. Maryland joined Virginia and D.C. in legalizing sports betting when voters passed ballot Question 2 during the 2020 election.

Betting on sports in most states was illegal under federal law until the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the federal law was unconstitutional, offering states the opportunity to authorize sports betting. 

Maryland lawmakers approved statewide sports betting legislation at the end of a session back in April. Gov. Hogan, who has been ardently pro-sports gambling since his election, subsequently signed it into law.

RELATED: Sports betting hasn't yet produced the big payout DC expected

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