State gaming regulators moved Maryland closer to a long-awaited entry into mobile sports wagering Thursday by qualifying 10 applicants for licenses.
The preliminary votes by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission send the applicants on for final approval in November.
The commission qualified 10 applicants for mobile licenses. Included in that batch were four casinos: Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore; Hollywood Casino in Perryville; Maryland Live in Hanover; and MGM in National Harbor.
Three off-track-betting venues — Greenmount Station in Hampstead; Long Shots in Frederick; and the Riverboat on the Potomac in southern Maryland — were also qualified for mobile licenses.
So far, state gaming regulators have been unable to impose diversity requirements on license holders. Even so, two ownership groups stood out from the rest: Long Shots, which is fully woman-owned, and Riverboat on the Potomac, which is Black and Indian-immigrant-owned.
“We are the MBE everyone has been talking about,” said Antonio Jones, a managing partner of the Riverboat on the Potomac.
The off-track-betting venue is also unique because its entrance is on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. The venue falls under Maryland law and gaming regulations because it sits in the river, which is part of Maryland
Jones compared the operation to the children’s book “The Little Engine that Could.”
“For us this has been a journey but it has been a successful journey,” said Jones.
Greenmount Station was awarded a retail license last year. The facility completed a two-day trial run for state regulators. Gaming officials said Thursday they expect the Carroll County site to open to the public Friday.
Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Commanders, was also qualified for a mobile license. He was awarded a license for a sports betting parlor at FedEx Field in Landover. That site is expected to open by the end of the year.
Qualification by the commission is an initial step in the licensing process.
All 10 applicants still need approval of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission. That panel is scheduled to meet in November.
Jim Nielsen, deputy director of the gaming and regulatory division of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said consultants are reviewing applications now, including the 10 qualified Thursday. The application review commission should be able to “award some of the licenses” at its next meeting, he said.
Once approved, licensees will have to satisfy final requirements of state lottery and gaming officials before mobile wagers can be accepted.
Including the 10 applicants qualified this week, the state can issue up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses.
The batch approved Thursday is not expected to be the last applications to be reviewed. Regulators expected last Friday to see some late filings as the deadline approached.
“We’re not quite ready to announce how many applications have been received but we expect that to happen soon,” said Nielsen.
The next wave of applicants could come before the commission as early as its next scheduled meeting on Nov. 17.
The commission also approved 10 mobile sports operator applicants: American Wagering; BetFair; BetFred; MGM; Crown Maryland Gaming LLC (DraftKings); FBGEnterprises (Fanatics); Parx Interactive; Penn Sports; PointsBet; and RSI Maryland.
Operator companies typically partner with license holders, providing the technology and odds making.
Operator licenses do not count against the five-dozen available mobile sports betting licenses. They also do not require additional approval from the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission.