HomeMaryland Sports Betting NewsNew Maryland Sportsbook Opening Generates Unusual Fanfare

New Maryland Sportsbook Opening Generates Unusual Fanfare

The arrival of football season has produced an uptick in new retail and mobile sportsbooks all over the U.S., so many debuts with little public notice.

Image: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

A major exception was the launch of a FanDuel Sportsbook at the Sports & Social bar/restaurant in North Bethesda, Md., on Sept. 7 – the opening night of the NFL’s regular season.

A key reason is that while this is the 12th sportsbook to open in Maryland – and the second this month – it is the first in Montgomery County, the largest county in the state, with a population of just over 1 million.

The size of the already-existing facility – located in the city’s popular Pike & Rose neighborhood – also is an attention-getter, at nearly 8,000 square feet.

The North Bethesda site, according to its website, offers guests “an elevated food and beverage experience with made-from-scratch game-day snacks, curated cocktails, and a beer selection that includes local favorites.”

Other features include “a dog-friendly exterior patio for al fresco dining and a signature Crush Bar featuring a large selection of specialty crush drinks.” Dozens of televisions, an 18-foot-high “media wall,” and outdoor basketball hoops are also on the menu of attractions.

With a Maryland sportsbook now an additional part of the entertainment mix, finding an open barstool on Washington Commanders and Baltimore Ravens game days likely becomes even more difficult.

Sports & Social is also a prominent brand in the region, with sites in Hanover, Md. and Washington, D.C., among the chain’s 16 other locations.

Former NFL Players Part Of The Celebration

Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was witnessed by FanDuel Vice President Jeff Lowich.

But bystanders no doubt were more excited by the sight of two men who placed the ceremonial first bets – Santana Moss and Dexter Manley. Moss (wide receiver, 2005-2014) and Manley (defensive end, 1981-1991) played for the Commanders when the team was still known as the Washington Redskins. Moss is third on the 92-year-old franchise’s all-time list in passes caught with 581 receptions.

“Our partnership with FanDuel takes our one-of-a-kind game day experience and elevates it to a new level,” Bryan Harris, general manager of Sports & Social Bethesda, said in a statement. “We love the passion of the sports fans here and can’t wait for the season to get started.”

The site will include self-serve kiosks and a retail window that is within sight of the media wall that shows multiple games being played simultaneously.

Opening Day visitors also received a chance to enter raffles to win two tickets to a Commanders home game and a VIP package that includes a two-night hotel stay at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland.

The North Bethesda location opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 11 a.m. on “football game day” Saturdays and Sundays.

Maryland’s Legal Sports Betting History

Retail sports betting in Maryland debuted in December 2021, so the Sports & Social site missed out on only one full season of football. With the state’s mobile sportsbook launch in November 2022, Marylanders are enjoying their first football season with unfettered wagering options.

Of the 11 other sportsbook locations in Maryland, six are located in casinos – including another FanDuel Sportsbook at the Live! casino in the Sports & Social location in Hanover. The prominent Maryland real estate company The Cordish Bros. runs both of the Sports & Social sportsbooks.

The state’s fifth retail sportsbook, in a Greene Turtle bar/restaurant – a first for that chain, operated by BetParx -opened almost a week earlier in Canton – though to less media attention. A Greene Turtle in Towson is expected to become the state’s 13th sportsbook at some point during football season.

State regulators just released figures that show that $263.7 million was wagered on sports in August – about 6% more than was bet in July.

Figures for the state’s Fiscal Year 2023 – a 12-month period that ended on June 30 – show that Maryland residents and visitors placed $2.9 billion in bets in that span. All but $246.6 million of that amount was wagered via mobile sportsbook apps in Maryland, a ratio consistent with other states offering both sports betting options.

A robust “hold rate” of 13.3% – meaning the amount of wagers retained by the sportsbooks – led to the state Treasury, which takes in 15% of winnings, receiving $25.3 million in tax revenue for the fiscal year.

The rapid growth in the number of mobile and retail betting options – now at an even two dozen with still another on the way – and the arrival of football season means that a $5 billion “handle,” or amount wagered, for Fiscal Year 2024 is not at all out of the question when those figures are posted next summer.