As expected, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission met today and determined the Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin have met the qualifications for a sports betting license.

The acceleration of casinos being approved for licenses keeps hope alive that Maryland in-person sports betting could potentially begin in the late fall.

“We’ve approved five facilities, and our work is ongoing,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin in a release. “We’ll continue sending applications to the SWARC so that it can make awards and sports wagering can launch by late fall. It’s what the public wants and expects, and we’re doing everything we can to deliver it.”

Five casinos now approved for licenses

There are now five Maryland casinos that have had their applications for licenses approved by the MLGCC and forwarded to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), which is responsible for awarding the licenses. Each of these five casinos were 17 designated entities in the original sports betting bill, which was approved by Gov. Larry Hogan this past May.

Hollywood Casino (which has partnered with Barstool Sportsbook to run its sports betting operation) and Ocean Downs Casino joins Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore (partnered with Caesars), Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover (partnered with FanDuel) and MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill (partnered with BetMGM) as entities awaiting approval from SWARC.

MLGCA staff determined that Hollywood and Ocean Downs are qualified because they have gaming licenses in Maryland. Horseshoe, Live! and MGM were also found to be qualified because they hold Maryland gaming licenses, according to a Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission release.

In August, the SWARC voted unanimously that the MLGCC’s qualification standards are sufficient for the SWARC to award licenses to the 17 designated entities. The SWARC postponed a meeting that was scheduled for Oct. 14, which would have seen the approval of the three original casinos sent to the commission at the beginning of the month. SWARC has not announced a new meeting date.

One more step until licenses are awarded

After receiving approval from SWARC, the applications will be sent to the MLGCA to ensure the casinos have finalized their systems of internal control and other operational requirements before the licenses are issues.

Martin previously told Saturday Tradition he is confident his agency can quickly verify the internal control systems and allow Maryland to launch in-person sports betting later this fall.

“I’m confident we’ll get many sportsbooks up and running before the end of the fall,” he said. “I’m very confident, because the applicants we sent to SWARC are ones that are already familiar with the process. They know they need to go through the internal control systems process, they need to go through the demonstrations and the signs offs. They’re very experienced with the whole process.”