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Live! Casino & Hotel at Arundel Mills opens venue for eventual sports betting

At a sports bar and restaurant opening Thursday at Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, customers can stretch out in lounge chairs or perch at a bar to watch games on big screens. They can play blackjack or roulette and compete with friends in foosball and skeeball.

Called Sports & Social, the sports bar is poised to offer patrons yet another choice later this year, the ability to gamble on sports.

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The national Sports & Social brand, owned by Maryland Live! owner The Cordish Cos., has entered a partnership with sports betting platform FanDuel Group that will allow people to place bets either on premises at the Arundel Mills casino or from a mobile device.

“We will be ready to implement sports betting at Sports & Social as soon as the state allows,” which could be late summer or early fall, said Reed Cordish, a principal at the Baltimore-based developer. “Patrons coming to Sports & Social will have the ability to either walk up to a teller or a kiosk and wager on a game they’re watching.”

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That became possible after state lawmakers legalized sports betting in the legislative session that ended this month.

Legislators agreed on a plan to offer licenses for nearly 100 in-person and online venues, including casinos, the Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course thoroughbred tracks, and the stadiums for the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens and Washington Football Team.

Additional on-premises licenses would be available for off-track betting facilities, the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium and large bingo halls. Additional licenses would go to mobile and online sports betting, which has made up the bulk of sports betting in other states.

Lawmakers hope to get sports betting underway by late summer or early fall, in time for the NFL season.

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Maryland Live! will be an applicant along with FanDuel for the casino’s licenses, Cordish said. A mobile license is a key part of the partners’ plan to get into the state’s sports betting industry.

“A significant portion of sports betting takes place on mobile,” Cordish said. “We think there’s a real opportunity with sports betting to drive this audience into Live! through special events and promotions.”

The Cordish Cos. has been rolling out the Sports & Social concept at its entertainment-oriented properties around the United States, such as at The Battery adjacent to Truist Park in Atlanta, Ballpark Village adjacent to Busch Stadium in St. Louis, and Texas Live! in the Arlington Entertainment District in Texas.

The Hanover Sports & Social will be the third of the branded venues to offer sports gaming, along with locations that opened late last year and this year in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

A second Maryland location will open in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose mixed-use project this fall, and others are planned for Chicago, Miami and Nashville, Tennessee.

The Hanover casino isn’t the only place in the state preparing for sports betting. As the Maryland Jockey Club overhauled Laurel Park in recent years, it added a space for a potential future sports book. MGM National Harbor has applied for permits to build a “sportsbook enhancement project.”

Live! Casino’s sports bar, a $15 million project that seats more than 200 people, is centered on more than 100 linear feet of LED screens, including a nearly 50-foot-wide main screen. The venue has two main bars, including one with electronic table games, tiered sports viewing tables and lounge chairs, VIP lounge areas, casino games and duckpin bowling lanes.

“We have 15 screens up active right now ... and we have TVs pretty much anywhere you are,” said Rob Norton, president of Cordish Gaming and Live! Casinos. “We have the ability to show all different sports that are playing at one time. So anything that’s out there on broadcast we’ll have up and running.”

The casino is awaiting final regulations from the state to determine some details about how sports betting will work, Norton said.

For instance, it is likely that in-game betting will be allowed, but that will depend on the final rules, he said.

“I am hopeful that we will see new customers come to the facility for the opportunity to bet on sports,” Norton said. “We have built what I think is the absolutely by far best sports viewing venue anywhere in the region.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Pamela Wood and Bryn Stole contributed to this article.

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