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BetRivers Launches Retail Sports Betting In Maryland

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • BetRivers has launched retail sports betting in Maryland in partnership with Bingo World..
  • Former Baltimore Ravens and Super Bowl champion Qadry “the Missile” Ismail was on hand to make the first bet.
  • Mobile betting in Maryland remains ‘TBA’.

At some point, Maryland will have mobile sports betting. They’ll even have a fairly competitive ecosystem that could get them at least within shouting distance of Colorado’s 23 mobile sportsbooks. The comparisons to Colorado end there–while the Centennial State managed to launch sports betting on time in the middle of a pandemic, Maryland continues to completely bungle the creation of their regulatory framework:

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.

That last statement requires a bit of qualification–it’s not that hard if you’re trying to create a thriving environment for sports bettors and sportsbooks. If you’re trying to figure out how to extract every last dollar out of gaming companies while micromanaging their daily activities it probably is a painfully difficult process. Getting a gaming license shouldn’t be much more difficult than getting a business licence. With virtually all of the companies that run sportsbooks publicly traded in the US or Europe, it’s not like we’re talking ‘fly by night’ operations. But bureaucrats gonna regulate, or in most cases *over* regulate.

Even with the usual boneheaded criteria for allocating gaming licenses, Maryland is starting to have a decent retail sportsbook scene. The latest major sportsbook to join the fun is Rush Street Interactive (RSI) with their BetRivers brand. They’ve opened a retail sportsbook at Bingo World in Baltimore. Former Baltimore Ravens and Super Bowl champion Qadry “the Missile” Ismail was on hand to make the first bet and the usual group of executives and local politicos were in attendance.

Randy Clemens, President of Bingo World, had this to say about being the first ‘non casino’ sportsbook in Maryland:

“We are so excited and honored to be the first operator outside of a casino to offer Maryland residents a retail sportsbook. Together with our partners at RSI, we can offer bettors a world-class in-person sports betting experience at the BetRivers sportsbook and lounge.”

Richard Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer of RSI, is happy to get the BetRivers retail presence launched in Maryland:

“We are thrilled to partner with Bingo World to launch the BetRivers retail sportsbook in the state of Maryland. With Bingo World’s brand recognition in the Baltimore area, the easy-to-access venue, and RSI’s award-winning products and services, we look forward to delivering convenient and exciting sports betting options to retail customers and are excited about building trust and loyalty as they become familiar with our award winning product.”

Even Qadry Ismail got his comments in the press release:

“This new sportsbook is a huge win for avid sports fans in Baltimore and beyond. Betting has become such a big part of the sports world and now Ravens Fans and other bettors can come here to be entertained and enjoy the wide variety of betting options BetRivers will offer.”

As for Bingo World–here’s what they’re all about:

Bingo World has been Baltimore’s go-to destination for bingo entertainment since April 23, 1987, with a reputation for being fun, festive, and friendly. From that point, we have grown into a larger-scale establishment, complete with 200 Vegas style gaming machines, a dedicated bingo section, and a snack bar. In 2022, Bingo World is again expanding their business to include a sports wagering lounge, complete with 12 sports wagering kiosks, 21 hi-def video screens, streaming BetRivers odds boards, 32 theater style lounge chairs and a generous bar. Bingo World has grown from a business of 40 employees when opening in 1987, to a business of over 120 employees today, with over 50% being women and minorities. Bingo World is conveniently located in Baltimore, Maryland within fifteen minutes of the Inner Harbor, Thurgood Marshall BWI airport, and Baltimore sports venues, as well as a 40-minute drive from Washington D.C. For more info visit: https://www.bingoworld.com/

At some point, bureaucrats will realize that their state will benefit more–economically and otherwise–from not forcing sportsbooks to subsidize a legacy gaming business. It’s like making Starbucks ‘tether’ with the local Waffle House in order to sell espresso drinks. It’s amazing that states can get away with the political patronage that exists in gaming regulation–to the detriment of everyone involved that isn’t a crony or a financial benefactor.

You can watch a clip from the local news about the BetRivers/BingoWorld opening here

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