Good news for sports betting fans in the state of Maryland – the first sportsbook is about to go live, literally. The Live! Casino & Hotel in Maryland will have the honor this month to become the first casino in the state to offer legal sports betting. The casino hotel has partnered with FanDuel, which will be the entity running the sportsbook inside the casino property.
Starting Friday, visitors to the Maryland Live! will now be able to go to special betting section windows to place their sports wagers without the worry of the law. In addition to the betting windows, there will be an lounge-style area for the sports fans to sit down and watch many of the games they are betting on. Live! was the first casino in Maryland and now can also claim the same honors as the first legal sportsbook in the state.
This comes about a year after the residents of the state voted to legalize sports betting in the Old Line State, during a November 2020 referendum. Many of the proponents of legalizing the sportsbooks in Maryland pointed to the fact that the state was losing revenue from bettors traveling to nearby Virginia and DC to place wagers legally, shifting traffic and taxes from the local casinos.
The sports betting news comes on the heels of more good news for the local gambling establishments. The latest report by the state showed that the local casinos increased their gambling revenue by 23% in November, compared to the same month a year ago. Total revenue was at over $160 million, with Live! Casino and Hotel leading the pack with just over $58 million in November.
Granted that in November of 2020 all casinos operated under capacity restrictions due to the pandemic, the report indicates that the casinos are starting to go back to per-pandemic levels. The health of the Maryland gambling industry should further improve once the sportsbooks being operating in full steam. The upcoming college football playoff games, as well as the NFL and NBA schedules in the upcoming months, should guarantee a healthy dose of traffic.