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Ocean Downs & Hollywood Casino issued MD betting licenses

Ocean Downs, Maryland

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission (MLGC) has signed off on two more sports betting license applications.

The two establishments that received a nod from the state regulator this week are Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, which is owned and operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated.

The facilities are among the 17 businesses allowed to submit their sports betting license bids by the MLGC when the application window opened last month. Both casinos qualify to operate retail sportsbooks under Class A-2 permits, according to the state’s Sports Wagering Law.

The approval by the state Lottery and Gaming Commission pushes the applicants to the second stage of the vetting process, where they will be evaluated by the Sports Wagering Applicant Review Commission (SWARC).

Only three other applicants have cleared this hurdle so far – Live! Casino and Hotel in Maryland, Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore and MGM National Harbor. The three received the approval by the Commission earlier this month.

Gov. Hogan urges SWARC to act swiftly

As earlier mentioned, up to 17 entities were allowed to submit applications for Maryland sports betting permits last month. The businesses that qualified for the first round of applications include three pro sports teams and venues, six casinos, Maryland State Fairgrounds, racetracks operated by the Maryland Jockey Club, and off-track betting parlors.

The licenses that will be awarded to these applicants are Class A and B, and the MLGC is also expected to award up to 30 additional Class B permits later in the coming months. According to the state’s gambling law, however, all applications must also be vetted and okayed by the SWARC before operators can start accepting wagers.

The SWARC was expected to meet to approve the first three licenses signed off by the Lottery and Gaming Commission on October 14, but the meeting did not take place.

Commenting on the latest development, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said that his administration expects the SWARC to act swiftly on the five applications signed off by the MLGC so that the state can move forward with launching in-person betting.

“No one is pushing harder than I am to get sports betting up and running here in the State of Maryland,” said Hogan.

“Our administration has now cleared five licenses for sports betting, implementing the referendum approved by voters and the law passed by the General Assembly. With Marylanders looking forward to betting on the NFL and March Madness, we now expect the legislature’s Sports Wagering Applicant Review Commission to swiftly approve these licenses.”

Gov. Hogan was among the biggest proponents of bringing legal sports betting to the Old Line State, and his administration has been pushing to have the regulated market launched in time for the football season.

Which sportsbooks are coming to Maryland?

Each of the 17 eligible licensees is expected to team up with vendors and platform providers for their retail and online sports betting operations.

Although the majority of the applicants are yet to name their partners, some of them have announced partnerships in anticipation of receiving clearance from the MLGC and SWARC. The Riverboat on the Potomac, for example, has an agreement with PointsBet that will see the operator run a retail sportsbook at the OTB site.

Horseshoe Baltimore, which is owned by Caesars Entertainment, has also revealed plans to open a Caesars branded retail sportsbook on its floor.

Other known sports betting partnerships include MGM National Harbor and BetMGM, Ocean Downs Casino and Twinspires, Hollywood Casino Perryville and Barstool Sportsbook, and Live! Casino Maryland and FanDuel. Other established brands like DraftKings and FoxBet are expected to debut in the state as well, although they are yet to announce their license partners.

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