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Maryland: Betfred to exit, Bally’s and VSC to enter wagering market

| By Jill R. Dorson
Digital wagering operator Betfred Sportsbook revealed that it will be exiting the state of Maryland at Thursday's (20 June) Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency meeting.
baltimore inner harbor betfred exit

Betfred’s US business, partnered with Long Shot’s (off track betting) OTB in Frederick, has struggled to gain traction and will shutter its retail and digital sportsbooks over the summer. Betfred will close its brick-and-mortar location on 30 June and take down its digital platform on July.

Maryland’s wagering law allows for more than 15 “Class B” licences, which are for OTBs, bingo halls and similar businesses. The idea was to spread the opportunity to participate in sports betting beyond the professional sports teams and casinos.

Long Shot’s was vocal during the legislative process, which also included using what lawmakers called a “lens of inclusion”. This was designed to help small businesses and women- and minority-owned businesses to enter the market.

Maryland Lottery & Gaming director John Martin said Long Shot’s will “be proceeding on a new relationship” for sports betting, but did not indicate what entity that might be. He also said Long Shot’s and Betfred “reached a mutually agreeable parting of the ways, which is common in the industry at this stage. This is not the first time this has happened in Maryland and I don’t think it will be the last.”

New platforms coming in July

As Betfred prepares to leave the market, Bally’s is getting ready to launch its Bally Bet digital platform and Veteran’s Service Corporation (VSC) is also set to launch.

Betr is also in the application process. The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission will meet next week to consider Betr’s application.

VSC is pointing to a 1 July launch date. The company operates a digital betting platform Bee-Fee Limited, and did a demonstration in May. British-based VSC has previous experience in the US and has operated an Intralot subcontractor in Washington, DC.

Bally Bet, which also plans to launch in Massachusetts this summer, is aiming to go live in Maryland in July. Bally’s qualified for a digital licence in 2022.

Maryland sportsbooks’ May handle was 34.8% ahead of May 2023.

Maryland law allows for up to 60 online platforms, including those tethered to professional sports teams and small businesses. Lottery partners may also choose to have kiosks at their businesses.

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