HomeMaryland Sports Betting News4 New Maryland Sportsbooks Have Gained Preliminary Approvals

4 New Maryland Sportsbooks Have Gained Preliminary Approvals

The Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission recently granted preliminary approval to Superbook and three other businesses for sports betting licenses, thereby sending the applications to the state's Sports Wagering Application Review Commission. The agency then reviews whether approval would be in the public interest of state residents.

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Superbook operates the Westgate casino in Las Vegas and already also is licensed in New Jersey, Colorado, Arizona, Tennessee, Iowa, and Ohio, according to the commission. A partnership with the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball means Superbook will manage a sportsbook at the team’s Camden Yards ballpark.

Also in the plans for Superbook is a mobile sports betting app, which received the go-ahead from the commission as well.

The commission concludes that Superbook’s “overall operating performance during its partial start-up year in 2020 was poor and did not improve during its first full year of operating in 2021, nor during the first ten months of the calendar year 2022. This was due in large part to the costs needed to expand into new markets in the United States and to compete to acquire and retain customers.”

Superbook officials informed the commission that the company “doesn’t expect to generate a profit until 2026 due to the costs and challenges associated with its plans to enter into additional jurisdictions.”

Why did the commission offer its approval?

“Despite SBOpco’s poor operating performance, the Applicant has significant resources and borrowing capacity available if needed and its auditors have not expressed any concerns with its operations or its ability to continue.

Additionally, its credit reports did not contain any derogatory information and its financial ratios were generally comparable to those of competitors operating in its industry.”

Canton Gaming, meanwhile, advanced its application to open two retail sportsbooks, one in Baltimore and another in Towson. Both would open under the Greene Turtle brand name, with Canton Gaming partnering with Parx Interactive Maryland.

Canton just launched as a business in Maryland in September 2022, but the commission found that majority owner Mark Sapperstein will fund the startup costs along with principals at Green Turtle.

An Anne Arundel County catering company for “large parties and wedding receptions” called Michael’s on the South River – owned by Kathe P. Hospitality Services – also gained the commission’s approval.

According to the application, Michael’s is in the process of “converting its existing venue to be used solely to house the sports wagering operation and is relocating the catering business to an adjacent building.” No operating partner for the sportsbook was identified in the application.

The commission described the business’s operating performance since 2017 as “inconsistent,” with net losses in several of those years. But the commission noted that majority owner Kathe Piera, the company’s president and chief executive officer, has contributed $800,000 to the business’s bottom line in the past two years – and that “this has provided the Company with sufficient cash to finance the renovation of Michael’s existing facility to house the sports wagering operation, as well as provide funds to cover wagers placed by patrons.”

Crab Sports & GiG Also Received Preliminary Approvals

Finally, Delaware-based Crab Sports Maryland also was granted preliminary approval by the commission for a mobile sports betting app. The company submitted proof of a bank account with $1.8 million in funds.

Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), based in Malta and licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Iowa, would operate the betting app. Crab Sports would be required to pay for related startup costs, employee training, and recurring maintenance fees.

It is not clear when any of the new sports betting operations would begin, as Maryland regulators have tended to take extensive time to review applications.

It took 24 months from when voters approved the legalization of sports betting in Nov. 2020 until mobile sports betting launched in the state. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, PointsBet, BetRivers, and Barstool launched on Nov. 23, 2022.

Also approved as sports betting apps by the commission, but not yet launched, are betPARX, BetFanatics, BallyBet, and WynnBET.

Fanatics recently opened a 5,000-square-foot retail sportsbook at FedEx Field in Landover, home to the NFL’s Washington Commanders. Five sportsbooks and Maryland casinos started taking sports bets back in December 2021, and more partnerships between betting operators and casinos, racetracks, and professional sports franchises in the state may be announced later in 2023.

State regulations permit as many as 60 legal sports betting operators in Maryland, but the final tally is not expected to come close to reaching that limit.

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