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MGM National Harbor casino poised to open venue in preparation for sports betting

As Maryland prepares to usher in sports wagering by late fall or winter, the glitzy MGM National Harbor resort casino in Prince George’s County joined the parade of state casinos adding a sports betting lounge.

The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge will open by mid-October at the MGM casino beside Interstate 495 and overlooking the Potomac River near Washington. The lounge was designed as a prototype for sports betting destinations MGM Resorts eventually will open elsewhere in the United States.

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“The demand for sports betting continues to grow, and we look forward to offering this option to our guests in the near future,” said Chris Gumiela, vice president of BetMGM Marketing for MGM Resorts International, in an email. “In planning our sports betting offerings, we’ve created the type of world-class experience visitors have come to expect from us.”

Initially, the lounge will offer food and beverages but no sports wagering — yet. State lawmakers legalized sports betting earlier this year. But the timeline for placing bets is tied to the completion of a process to develop and adopt regulations governing the new industry and to approve sports gambling licenses.

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MGM Resorts, which operates one of the state’s six casinos, all of which were designated in the law to receive in-person sports betting licenses, has submitted its application to the state, resort officials said. Officials will review casinos’ financial plans, security programs and other details.

Other entities designated for in-person licenses include some off-track betting and bingo facilities, the state fairgrounds, the thoroughbred horse racing tracks in Laurel and Baltimore, and the three major professional sports stadiums — home to the Orioles, Ravens and Washington Football Team.

MGM’s license would cover the new sportsbook as well as other sites within the resort where sports betting will be allowed. Those areas include The TAP Sports Bar, which will have four kiosks and four betting windows; level two of the casino, which will have 10 kiosks and five betting windows; and the main casino floor, where six betting kiosks will be available near the Felt bar and Blossom Cocktail Lounge.

The new 8,000-square-foot sportsbook is accessible just inside a bar area topped by a 360-degree halo screen projecting games in multiple directions. The sportsbook area can accommodate 350 people and has seven betting windows and 17 betting kiosks.

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It features a 110-foot wraparound screen, seating in recliners, stadium seats or VIP banquettes, a DJ booth and radio broadcast facilities. Patrons can use mobile devices to order from the resort’s fast-casual food hall, National Market, and have food delivered to their seats.

MGM is just the latest casino to unveil a new sportsbook area to prepare for sports betting.

Live! Casino and Hotel in Anne Arundel County opened “Sports & Social” lounge in April, where customers can watch games on big screens from lounge chairs or a bar and play blackjack, roulette, foosball and skeeball.

Officials of Cordish Gaming, which operates Live!, said the facility will be ready to offer sports betting as soon as state approvals are completed. Cordish Cos. will work in partnership with sports betting platform FanDuel Group to allow people to place bets either on-premises at the Arundel Mills casino or from a mobile device.

BetMGM said it too has applied for a mobile license.

And Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino and its parent company, Caesars Entertainment, are developing an in-person sports betting area and mobile betting app as well. Caesars reached a deal to advertise with the Ravens at nearby M&T Bank Stadium.

Licenses for sports betting aren’t expected to be awarded until later this year at the earliest. The Lottery and Gaming Control Agency is reviewing several hundred pages of public comments on proposed regulations covering types of bets and how much people can bet, aspects of games that will be subject to bets, records requirements for gambling operators other issues. The new Sports Wagering Application Review Commission will have the final say on awarding licenses.

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