- Betfred Sports has announced that they’ve obtained market access in Maryland.
- Betfred has partnered with Long Shot’s OTB and will construct a retail sportsbook in their Fredrick, MD location.
- Maryland’s mobile betting regulations are still ‘in the works’.
Betfred Sports is extending their US market reach slowly but surely. They started their US subsidiary in 2019 and quickly launched in Colorado and Iowa. Earlier today, the company announced that Maryland is next up. They’ve also launched in Pennsylvania–a market fraught with potential though limited by an absurdly high tax rate–along with Arizona and Louisiana. Betfred Sports is also coming to the Silver State of Nevada and will be operating the sportsbook at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas property. In addition to Maryland and Nevada, they’re planning to open up shop in Washington ‘pending regulatory approval.’
Maryland’s sports betting ecosystem could eventually be one of the better ones in the US. That is, if the state’s regulators learn to operate in the expedient manner necessary for a fast moving industry like sports betting. Retail sportsbooks have already launched in the state with BetMGM, FanDuel. TwinSpires and Caesars Sportsbook already operational.
The big issue has been the creation of a regulatory framework for sports betting. When Maryland’s retail sports betting went live in early December 2021, the expectation was that retail wouldn’t be too far behind. Although there’s plenty of potential in Maryland for a robust sports betting market, the struggles of the commission to get their act together is a huge concern. The latest ‘deadline’ to launch is January 1, 2023. It remains to be seen if this changes. It looks to me like Maryland’s sports betting regulators are ‘missing the forest for the trees’ as they get hung up on minutiae. It’s really not that hard.
Betfred is partnering with a business known as ‘Long Shot’s Betting Beer BBQ’ and if that isn’t a great business model I don’t know what is. Long Shot’s already has a first rate off track betting facility with live and automated tellers to accept bets along with 88 TVs airing wall to wall horse racing. At this point, Long Shot’s lists their hours as 12 PM to 8 PM Sunday through Thursday and 12 PM to 9 PM Friday and Saturday. You have to think that they’ll expand their hours once sports betting goes live. They’ll need to open earlier on weekends to be sure–a one hour lead time for the early start NFL games on Sunday doesn’t really work for a retail betting operation. For whatever it’s worth, the Betfred Sports location at the Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado is open from 11 AM to 9 PM seven days a week. At the time they received a license, the management of Long Shot’s indicated that they would be innovating the non-wagering portions of the facility.
According to the Betfred Sports press release, they’ll be powering both the retail and mobile betting in partnership with Long Shot’s. The planned retail sportsbook will be 8,800 square feet, a video wall, theater style seating and plenty of other amenities. It’ll be located directly next to the OTB facility just as nature intended. A temporary sportsbook will open in September 2022 and the state-of-the art permanent sportsbook will ‘just after the first of the year’.
Bryan Bennett, Betfred Sports Chief Operating Officer, is thrilled to be working with Long Shot’s:
“We identified Long Shot’s very early when searching for a Maryland partner. When combining Betfred’s 50 years of bookmaking experience and Long Shot’s success with off-track betting, we believe this will be a formidable partnership to compete in the Maryland sports betting space.”
Long Shot’s CEO, Alyse Cohen, thinks the sports betting component of her business will be as successful as the off-track betting:
“We were at the forefront of bringing sports betting to Maryland and specifically to Frederick. We are thrilled to open a sportsbook at Long Shot’s in partnership with Betfred Sports. We are proud that Long Shot’s is one of the premier off-track betting locations in the State and we look forward to achieving similar success with sports wagering. Long Shot’s will not only boost the local economy but contribute to enhancing the education of our students.”
Frederick, Maryland is in a great location for retail betting success–they’re just over 40 miles from both downtown Baltimore and downtown Washington DC. From DC, it’s a straight shot on Interstate 270 and from Baltimore Interstate 70 W. With traffic, that should get you there in just over an hour.