ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Governor Larry Hogan issued the following statement today after the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission determined that two additional entities—Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin—qualify for sports wagering licenses:
“No one is pushing harder than I am to get sports betting up and running here in the State of Maryland.
“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.”
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) today determined that Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin have met the qualification requirements for sports wagering licenses.
The two casinos are among 17 entities that were designated in law to conduct sports wagering operations, pending a review of their qualifications to receive licenses. The applications from Hollywood and Ocean Downs will now be forwarded to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), which is responsible for awarding the licenses.
Hollywood and Ocean Downs join Horseshoe Casino, Live! Casino & Hotel and MGM National Harbor in awaiting license awards. The MLGCC determined that Horseshoe, Live! and MGM were qualified on Oct. 6 and forwarded their applications to the SWARC. In August, the SWARC voted unanimously that the MLGCC’s qualification standards are sufficient for the SWARC to award licenses to the 17 designated entities. The SWARC postponed a meeting that was scheduled for Oct. 14, and has not announced a new meeting date.
“We’ve approved five facilities, and our work is ongoing,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. “We’ll continue sending applications to the SWARC so that it can make awards and sports wagering can launch by late fall. It’s what the public wants and expects, and we’re doing everything we can to deliver it.”
In affirming the qualifications of Hollywood and Ocean Downs, the MLGCC delegated to Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) staff the authority to apply alternative licensing standards, as outlined in state law. The MLGCC may waive certain requirements for applicants that hold licenses from Maryland or other states where “the licensing standards are comprehensive and thorough and provide similar and adequate safeguards” to those required in Maryland (State Government Article § 9-1E-05).
MLGCA staff determined that Hollywood and Ocean Downs are qualified because they have gaming licenses in Maryland. Horseshoe, Live! and MGM were also found to be qualified because they hold Maryland gaming licenses. The MLGCA’s licensing investigations of these five sports wagering facilities are ongoing, and any licenses that are issued may be revoked. MLGCA staff are also conducting background investigations of each facility’s sports wagering operator partners, contractors and employees, all of which must be licensed by Maryland Lottery and Gaming.
After the SWARC formally awards the facility licenses, the MLGCA staff will ensure that the licensees have finalized their systems of internal controls and satisfied other operational requirements before issuing licenses. MLGCA staff are working with the applicants to expedite these tasks.