New Maryland Bill Would Keep New Sportsbooks Away From Stadiums

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A new Maryland Senate bill could bring about major changes to the sports betting market in the state. Senate Bill 297 (SB297) was sponsored and supported by Senators Ron Young and Michael Hough and would set new rules for Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) to issue sports betting licenses. The legislation is likely to receive a lot of opposition from business operators.

Maryland Lawmakers Hope to Lock Down Sports Betting

SB 297 would establish a first rule prohibiting venues from receiving licenses if they’re within 15 miles of any Class A-1 and A-2 sportsbooks in Allegany, Cecil, and Worcester County. Class A-1 legal sports betting venues cover Maryland’s professional sports stadiums and casinos housing more than 1,000 slots. A-2 licenses are for those casinos with less than 1,000 slots, as well as racinos.

The SWARC would also not be able to issue licenses to facilities located within 10 miles of any Class B-1 or B-2 facility in Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, or Washington County. This would cover, as B-1 licensees, the Maryland State Fairgrounds and commercial bingo venues. B-2 venues are those with at least 25 employees or a minimum of $3 million in gross annual sales.

Additionally, the SWARC would be forbidden from issuing licenses to any facility within a radius of 1.5 miles from any class A-1, A-2, or B-1 legal sports betting venue, regardless of the county.

If the bill passes, Maryland’s new rules regarding legal sports betting would be implemented on June 1, 2022.

Maryland Testing the Sports Betting Waters

Maryland is one of the newer states to get involved in legal sports betting. It opened its regulated sports betting market on December 9 after several delays. Since then, it has reportedly been doing fairly well.

The SWARC initially issued five licenses for sports betting to land-based casinos in November. Penn National’s Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Cordish Companies’ Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, and Churchill Downs Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin all received licenses.

Three additional retail locations have been approved for licenses and will open in the early part of this year. These include Long Shot’s in Frederick, which is a restaurant with off-track horse betting, and Greenmount Station in Hempstead.

The third, Riverboat on the Potomac, will open a sportsbook with PointsBet. It is technically located in Maryland, although it is moored at Colonial Beach, VA. The initial five and these three were automatic – but conditionally – included when Maryland greenlighted sports betting.

Nine other candidates were included, as well. These have presented proposals for sportsbooks at the Orioles and Baltimore Ravens stadiums, as well as the Pimlico Racing Track and Washington Football Team (WFT) stadiums. The WFT was granted a Virginia betting license in 2021 and launched sports betting application in partnership with FanDuel to allow wagering in the state. Caesars and the Ravens collaborated to create a mobile app that would allow wagering at M&T Bank Stadium.

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