Casino Qualifies For Sports Wagering

BERLIN — The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) on Thursday determined the Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin has met the qualification requirements for a sports wagering license.

The MLGCC determined both the Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin along with the Hollywood Casino in Perryville have met the qualification requirements. The two casinos are among 17 entities that were designated in a law passed by the General Assembly this year to conduct sports wagering operations, pending a review of their qualifications to receive licenses.

The applications from the Ocean Downs Casino and Hollywood Casino will now be forwarded to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), which is responsible for awarding the gaming licenses. Ocean Downs and Hollywood join other casinos in the state, including the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live Casino and Hotel in Anne Arundel County and the MGM National Harbor Casino in awaiting license awards.

The MLGCC earlier this month determined the other three casinos listed had met the qualifications and submitted their applications to the SWARC. In August, SWARC determined the MLGCC qualifications were sufficient for SWARC to award licenses to the 17 entities established in the state legislation. The process between the MCGCC and SWARC is ongoing, but there is some urgency to get the licenses approved, according to MLGCC Director John Martin.

“We’ve approved five facilities and our work is ongoing,” he said. “We’ll continue sending applications to the SWARC so that we 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.”

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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.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.