Maryland Close to Betting Soft Launch

Maryland Close to Betting Soft Launch

Five casinos with plans to launch retail sportsbooks have been given the go-ahead for a soft launch soon in Maryland. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) has named several locations where this test of its sports betting laws will take place. These land-based locations are:

  • MGM National Harbor (BetMGM)
  • Hollywood Casino (Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sportsbook)
  • Ocean Downs Casino (TwinSpires)
  • Live! Casino (FanDuel)
  • Horseshoe Casino (Caesars)

What is a Soft Launch?

A soft launch essentially sees MLGCC staff and other selected invitees come to land-based locations and place sports bets. The MLGCC staff will thoroughly examine the procedures in place to see how the laws are working in practice. These controlled scenarios will have to take place over two days, although those days do not have to be consecutive.

What’s great about this process is that sports betting can be legalized reasonably quickly afterward once it’s complete. Some experts have predicted that the casinos can open the retail sportsbooks a few days after the soft launch. All of this puts Maryland on track to launch legal sports betting very soon.

Maryland will not be the first state to launch using this method, as Pennsylvania and Connecticut have done the same. Both those states now operate retail and online sports betting very successfully. Maryland will be hoping to follow this formula and its excellent results.


Since May 2019, Pennsylvania has been operating online sports betting. In the Keystone State, sportsbooks have to have a partnership with a land-based location. Over ten sportsbooks are working in the state.


Sports betting operates a bit differently in Connecticut compared to many other US states. There are three sportsbooks available in the Constitution State. However, only one of these is licensed by the Connecticut Lottery. The other two are licensed to operate by the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. 

Other Sportsbook Developments

Even though only five casinos have been picked for the upcoming soft launch, many more operators are interested in a Maryland launch. In fact, as many as seventeen different companies are interested in online sports betting in MD.

Each of these companies is at different stages of the licensing process. For example, Long Shot’s and Riverboat-on-the-Potomac have both passed the MLGCC requirements to become licensed sport wagering facilities. Riverboat-on-the-Potomac has a partnership with PointsBet. These two locations still have to be reviewed further. The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission will carry this out.

However, it is clear to see that sports betting in Maryland is moving forwards. Residents and those living in nearby states will be hoping for a launch very soon so they can start to enjoy wagering on sports. 

Betting in Other US States

Until sports betting is officially launched in the state, it is illegal to place sports wagers of any kind in Maryland. That’s not a problem as there are loads of states in the US where online sports betting is entirely legal. The best part is you don’t have to live in one of those states. You just have to be of legal gambling age. Simply visit one of these states, and you will be able to stake on your favorite sports. 

This type of state-by-state legalization has happened thanks to the US Supreme Court striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018. States like New Jersey, Iowa, Colorado, and more have legalized online sports betting. That means in any of these states, you can download a sportsbook app and start wagering. 

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