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MGM National Harbor Opens Retail Sportsbook As Betting In Maryland Goes Live

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • Sports betting has launched in Maryland as MGM National Harbor opens a retail sportsbook.
  • Maryland Governor Larry Hogan placed the state’s first bet–a futures wager on the Washington Football Team to play the Baltimore Ravens in the 2022 Super Bowl.
  • Several other gaming properties launched their retail sports betting later in the day.

Busy day in Maryland as retail sports betting goes live. Maryland is one of the few states to come online this year that I’m guardedly optimistic about–at the very least, there should be a competitive marketplace for online sportsbooks. Sort of sad that the bar is set so low but that’s the way it is. There are less than ten states in the US doing sports betting right–the rest of the country is still better off playing ‘offshore’ or with their ‘local guy’.

I don’t know if Maryland is far enough north to consider it as part of the ‘Northeast’ but if you do they’ve become the only state in the region with the exception of New Jersey to have a reasonable regulatory framework for sports betting. The rest of the Northeast offers nothing but lottery run monopoly (New Hampshire, Rhode Island), limited options and political cronyism (Connecticut) or a financially untenable bureaucratic mess (New York). I’m hoping that once politicians and regulators realize just how badly New York sports betting is underachieving relative to New Jersey they’ll go back to the drawing board though self awareness isn’t their strong suit. Maryland’s mobile betting is still in the works so that’ll will be the next thing to keep an eye on here.

The distinction of first sportsbook to open in Maryland–as well as the first bet placed in the state–goes to the BetMGM sportsbook at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill. The National Harbor property is a short drive from downtown Washington, DC and right across the Potomac River from Alexandria, Virginia. In the short term, Virginia won’t feel an impact since they don’t offer retail sports betting at this point. That isn’t the case for the grease fire that is Washington, DC sports betting–the retail operations in the DC Metro area could very well take a hit from the BetMGM presence. Otherwise, the majority of retail gaming in the state is centered in the Baltimore area. The Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Live! Casino Hotel both opened their retail sportsbooks today and we’ll cover the proceedings at both. Ultimately, Maryland will be like the other states to come on board post PASPA and the success or failure of their sports betting market will be determined by mobile betting.

The BetMGM at MGM National Harbor is now open for business and none other than Governor Larry Hogan placed the first bet–not only at the property but in the state of Maryland. Hogan took a politically expedient though not particularly sharp position on the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Football team to meet in the 2022 Super Bowl. Then again, Hogan got a hefty +50000 so maybe there is some theoretical overlay. After placing the bet, Hogan offered some pointless political blather:

“Today marks the culmination of more than a year of effort to get sports betting up and running here in the State of Maryland. In addition to allowing Marylanders to bet on football, basketball, and more, sports betting will also help to keep more dollars in-state and will provide another critical revenue source for public education without raising taxes on families and small businesses.”

Chris Gumiela, Vice President of BetMGM Marketing for MGM Resorts International, is pleased to see what is already the best gaming property in the state gain another amenity:

“As we celebrate MGM National Harbor’s fifth anniversary, the addition of sports betting further strengthens our reputation as the DMV’s premier entertainment destination. We’re proud to provide our guests a one-of-a kind experience, while bringing more jobs and revenue to the state.”  

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt is likewise happy to see the sportsbook go live:

“The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge at MGM National Harbor is a key component to making the Capital Region one of the country’s premier sports betting hubs. In partnership with the MGM National Harbor team, we’ve designed a world-class destination for sports fans.”

The MGM National Harbor is offering several sports betting locations throughout the property in addition to an assortment of kiosks:

The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge is one of several sports wagering locations debuting at MGM National Harbor and offers guests a state-of-the-art gameday experience featuring wraparound jumbotron video walls, multiple sports betting kiosks and mobile food and beverages operations.

The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge is one of three staffed sports betting locations at MGM National Harbor which includes TAP Sports Bar (four kiosks; four betting windows) and the casino’s second level (7 kiosks; five betting windows). Additionally, the main casino floor houses nine betting kiosks conveniently located near FELT Bar & Lounge, Blossom Cocktail Lounge and the High Limit table games.

It’ll be interesting to see how this works in practice–it’s a deviation from tradition where all of the staffed betting windows are in the sportsbook with kiosks elsewhere in the property. My gut instinct is that the ancillary staffed betting windows will be somewhat redundant (except for huge ‘public’ events like the Super Bowl) and that most players will gravitate toward the sportsbook or use the kiosks.

The BetMGM press release helpfully offers a rundown of ‘BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge Facts’:

BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge Facts:

  • Size: 8,000 square feet
  • Visuals: 110-foot long wraparound screen, 360-degree halo screen
  • Seating: Stadium-style, lounge, and VIP banquettes
  • Capacity: 350
  • Betting Windows: Seven (7)
  • Betting Kiosks: 15
  • Mobile food and beverage ordering
  • DJ booth and radio broadcast facilities

BetMGM is now available in one form or another in sixteen US states and the District of Columbia.

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