It has been an up-and-down battle to bring sports gambling to Maryland, but it appears, by the end of this week, the first wagers could be made on this weekend's games.
The Horseshoe Casino in downtown Baltimore is putting the finishing touches on its sportsbook as it is one of a number of casinos in Maryland hoping to start taking bets later this week
"If all goes well and the lottery approves, we'll open to the public on Friday afternoon," said Randy Conroy, senior vice president and general manager of the Horseshoe Casino. "I think our team is ready for this. We'll expect to pass the final exam here with the lottery."
Former Ravens running back Walter Sanders, who's now a boxer, is very excited about the prospect of sports betting finally becoming a reality in Maryland.
"People love sports. Sports makes the world go round," Sanders said. "Instead of going all the way to (Las) Vegas or New York or any different states, bringing it here in Maryland and Baltimore (will) be tremendous for the city. It brings excitement."
Conroy told 11 News his casino will get visits this week from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency for controlled demonstrations. Basically, the casino has invited a number of guests to test the sportsbook.
"They will place live bets at the windows or at the kiosks. We will show the lottery that we are adhering to all of the sports-betting regulations, standard operating procedures, etc.," Conroy said.
John Martin, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, explained the process, saying in order to pass, casinos will have to show they're complying with all lottery regulations and provide efficient and fast service, accurate accounting of bets and no technical flaws in the betting system.
"Think of it as a soft launch. We invite customers in the casinos, invite their customers in, and they go through all of the mechanisms of sports wagering just to make sure everything is addressed properly and we're ready to go," Martin said. "It has been a process over a year in the making. We are just thrilled sports wagering will be starting in Maryland here this week."
In Anne Arundel County, Live Casino will undergo the same controlled demonstrations this week. In April, 11 News got a closer look at their facility, which also includes betting windows and kiosks. Live also hopes to start sports betting on Friday.