The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) has approved DraftKings’ sports betting facility operator license application. The permit marks a first step in the sports gaming giant’s road to launch in the state, and will allow it to operate a sportsbook underneath the grandstand at Timonium Racetrack, at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.
However, other hurdles must yet be cleared for this to happen. The Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society, the potential sports betting facility license holder, will first have to be found qualified by the MLGCA before the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) can award its facility its corresponding permit.
The Timonium Racetrack at the Maryland State Fairgrounds is part of the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society, and was one of the 17 original approved locations for retail sports betting in the state’s sports betting bill. It currently operates as an off-track betting and simulcast center at the fairgrounds.
DraftKings and the Society first entered into a 10-year gaming partnership in December of 2020, with both parties set to split the cost of renovating the proposed sportsbook location. The sports betting giant could potentially also seek to enter the online sports betting space either through its partnership with the racetrack, or under its partnership with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
The MLGCA’s approval of DraftKings’ sports betting facility operator license application was unanimous, with one abstention. The regulator has thus far approved 12 of the 17 designated entities for retail sports betting, with half of them –MGM National Harbor, Live! Casino, Horseshoe Casino, Hollywood Casino, Ocean Downs Casino, Bingo World– already operating.
However, a date for when mobile wagering will launch in the Free State is still up in the air, after the SWARC said earlier this month a potential start could come in early 2023. Maryland’s delay to commence online sports betting is the longest for any US jurisdiction, with Marylanders first having legalized sports betting via a 2020 ballot referendum.
The SWARC is set to meet again today, and proposed online betting regulations are expected to be approved at the reunion. Additionally, the commission could take up DraftKings’ retail sports betting application, which though approved by the Lottery still needs the SWARC’s final green light.