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Maryland bill aims to restrict betting licences near sports venues

| By Robert Fletcher
The Maryland Senate is to consider a bill that would restrict the awarding of sports betting licences to facilities located close to a sports venue that is already licensed.

Filed last week and sponsored by senators Ronald Young and Michael Hough, Senate Bill 297 would prohibit the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission from issuing licences to venues within a 15–mile radius of a Class A–1 or A–2 sports betting facility in Allegany County, Cecil County, or Worcester County.

SB 297 would also prohibit the awarding of licences to venues within 10 miles of a Class B-1 or B-2 licensed sports betting facility in Calvert County, Carrol County, Frederick County and Washington County.

In addition, licences would not be issued to venues within a 1.5-mile radius of Class A-1 or A-2 sports wagering facility located in any other county, nor any other Class B–1 or B–2 sports betting venue.

Should the bill gain approval, the new rules would come into effect from 1 June this year.

Maryland officially opened its regulated sports wagering market last month after state governor Larry Hogan placed the first legal bet at MGM National Harbor.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission’s (MLGCC) Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) issued five sports betting licences to land-based casinos in November.

Penn National’s Hollywood Casino in Perryville; Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore; Cordish Companies’ Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover; the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill and Churchill Downs’ Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin all secured licences.

The MLGCC cleared the quintet to receive licences earlier in 2021.

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