With sports betting coming to Maryland, the Ravens are teaming with Caesars Sportsbook on a mobile app that will allow fans to eventually place bets inside M&T Bank Stadium.
Baltimore’s NFL team also is deepening its partnership with Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, which has long sought to take advantage of its proximity to M&T Bank Stadium to attract customers. The casino is developing a sports betting area, according to a joint announcement of an agreement by Horseshoe, the Ravens and Caesars Sportsbook.
The 5-year agreement comes as Maryland moves closer to getting sports betting systems up and running after a framework was approved earlier this year by the General Assembly. Sports wagering already is operating in Washington, D.C., and nearby states such as Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey and West Virginia.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, which began a 30-day public comment period Aug. 27 on proposed sports wagering regulations, said sports betting is expected to begin in Maryland in the fall or winter. It said it would be premature to provide a more definitive timetable.
Before sports gambling comes to the state, the agency must complete background investigations on potential sports betting licensees at the state’s six casinos, thoroughbred horse racing tracks and the Baltimore stadium homes of the Ravens and Orioles, among other sites.
The Orioles have not made an announcement about sports betting plans, and the team had no comment Wednesday.
Sports betting has expanded rapidly since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a congressional ban in a New Jersey case in 2018. Two years later, Maryland voters approved a ballot measure allowing sports wagering.
Chris Holdren, co-president of Caesars Digital, said he is hopeful that Horseshoe’s in-house sportsbook may be cleared by the state to open around the middle of the football season.
In Baltimore, “many (Ravens) fans park at the casino or park near the casino,” Holdren said. “They’ll be able to go by, place a bet if they’re interested, and then continue on to the game and come back at the end of that game and settle that bet.”
The mobile app for Ravens fans may not be ready for months.
“Mobile betting is being handled by the State of Maryland but most likely will not be ready for (the) 2021 season,” team spokesman Chad Steele said.
The app will enable bettors within the state’s boundaries to wager on professional and college sports, including game outcomes and individual players’ performances, Holdren said.
Keeping up with amenities offered by other teams is particularly important to the Orioles and Ravens because both of their stadiums lie within 40 miles of Washington competitors.
The Washington Football Team has a permit in Virginia for online sports betting that is already up and running in conjunction with FanDuel, the betting and fantasy sports app. The Washington Nationals baseball team partnered this year with BetMGM on sports betting.
Year-round betting fits with the Maryland Stadium Authority’s goal of increasing foot traffic in the area around Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium and Horseshoe, turning it into a vibrant entertainment district even when the teams aren’t playing.
“We are constantly exploring ways to create additional opportunities to engage with our fans and introduce our team to new audiences, while supporting the city we call home,” said Kevin Rochlitz, the Ravens’ chief sales officer, in a prepared statement. He said the team was helping transform the area “into a diversified entertainment district unavailable to sports fans in other NFL markets.”
Live Casino & Hotel, which competes with Horseshoe, has a partnership with FanDuel and has developed a sports betting area it plans to use at its Hanover location once the state approves.
Horseshoe has been looking for a boost. Its revenue has not approached projections made by state consultants before it opened in 2014, and it has been hurt by state-mandated shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic and by fears about Baltimore crime. The casino’s revenue of $18 million in August was up 7.2% over August 2020, when casinos were limited to 50% capacity due to COVID-19, but overall the state’s six casinos saw revenue growth of 12.6% over that period.
In 2018, Horseshoe announced a multi-year marketing deal with the Ravens, allowing the casino to use team trademarks and logos.
The new agreement will give the Caesars brand increased visibility at M&T Bank Stadium, including through LED board displays. Caesars loyalty rewards program will be integrated with the mobile betting app.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Under the deal, Horseshoe also will host a number of events — some with former Ravens players — on the M&T Bank Stadium club level and will serve as title sponsor of the club’s Ravenstown Saturday Night event. Caesars Sportsbook will be title partner on the Ravens’ digital pre-game show before regular season home games.
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“Our customers bleed Ravens purple, so we’re excited to be able to offer them greater access to the team than ever before,” said Randy Conroy, Horseshoe’s senior vice president and general manager, in a news release.