Casino’s Sports Wagering ‘Well Received’

BERLIN — While the numbers aren’t quantified, it’s clear sports wagering that opened in five Maryland casinos last month, including the Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, is having an impact on the bottom line.

Maryland’s six casinos combined to generate nearly $173 million in gaming revenue, making it the second-best month in the history of the state’s casino program. The total revenue represents an increase of over $53 million statewide over the same month in 2020, or a 45% increase, but that might not be an apples-to-apples comparison because of the COVID capacity restrictions in place in December 2020.

While the state’s casinos have generally realized steady gains in revenue generated since the inception of the program, the addition of sports wagering has likely contributed to the spike last month. The Maryland General Assembly last year passed legislation allowing sports wagering in the state’s casinos, and after a multi-layered vetting program, sports wagering began at five casinos last month including Ocean Downs. Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said it is contributing to the bottom line.

“The combination of the holiday season and the launch of sports wagering at five of the casinos during December led to great results,” he said. “We congratulate our casino partners for their ongoing success.”

Over at the Ocean Downs Casino, General Manager Bobbi Sample said while the sports wagering revenue can’t be quantified, it is definitely seeing a lot of action. During the month of December, Ocean Downs Casino generated $6.7 million in gaming revenue, representing an increase of roughly $1.6 million, or 32%, over the same month last year.

“Our sports wagering kiosks have been well received by our guests,” said Sample this week. “They are convenient and easy to use.”

Sample said business has been brisk at the sports wagering kiosks at Ocean Downs since opening. She added it has been fueled in part by the waning weeks of the NFL season with the playoffs and Super Bowl looming.

“Business volumes have been good, particularly on Sundays with NFL games, but there has been wagering on almost every sport,” she said. “We expect the NFL playoffs will be popular and we’re pleased we were able to open during the season.”

Maryland’s casino’s $172.9 million generated in December surpassed the $172.4 million generated in May 2021 to move into second-place all time and trailed only the July 2021 figure of $180 million.

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.