Five Maryland casinos received final approval for sports betting licenses, meaning wagering could begin before the end of the current NFL season.
After weeks of delay during which officials said they were seeking unspecified additional information from applicants, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) finally signed off on sports betting licenses for Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Hollywood Casino in Perryville, MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin. The vote was 5-2.
The approvals mean wagering can begin within 30 to 45 days, certainly in time for the NFL playoffs in January and the Super Bowl in February. “We still have a few important steps to go before we get to that final grand opening for each and every property,” said John A. Martin, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, according to the Baltimore Sun.
That agency approved licenses for the casinos earlier this year, but final approval was needed from SWARC, an independent commission set up by Maryland’s sports betting law. That panel withheld its approval at its October meeting, citing the need for more information.
The approval at Thursday’s SWARC meeting came after three Maryland casinos sent a joint letter to Governor Larry Hogan to appeal that the delay end. In the letter, Horseshoe Baltimore, Live! Casino Maryland and MGM National Harbor cited the gaming law enacted this year, which identifies 17 entities guaranteed sports betting licenses, including all six of the state’s casinos.