Stadiums augment newly enacted Maryland and Arizona sports betting markets By Howard Stutz, Executive Editor, CDC Gaming Reports April 17, 2021 at 5:00 am At some point, Baltimore will have three sportsbooks within less than two miles of one another. Only one will be located inside a traditional casino. Under Maryland’s new sports betting legislation, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, the homes for baseball’s Baltimore Orioles and the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, have the same rights to operate a sportsbook as the neighboring Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. Some 2,200 miles west, legislation passed in Arizona will also allow sports venues to house regulated sports betting facilities, same as the state’s tribal casino market. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the legislation Thursday. Shutterstock/ Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore The idea of retail sportsbooks included within stadiums and arenas will become more common as legal sports betting continues its march across the U.S. But it’s not like the teams have actual skin in the game. The sportsbook space is leased to a licensed operator who pays a rental fee to the stadium ownership. The real advantage of this partnership is statewide market access provided to the operator for mobile sports wagering. Sports betting consultant Sara Slane, whose clients – PGA Tour, Arizona Diamondbacks, and NASCAR will benefit from the Arizona legislation – said stadiums and arenas are increasingly becoming a feature in multi-use entertainment districts throughout the U.S. Last year, DraftKings announced plans to build a sportsbook at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago. Having a retail sportsbook that includes dining and beverage options and viewing areas for televised sporting events offers additional prospects for a venue, even when the home team isn’t playing. “The retail component at the stadiums provides exposure, exclusivity, and branding opportunities for the operator,” Slane said. Take Washington, D.C. William Hill US has been operating sports betting windows at Capital One Arena since last year. Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the arena and the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, is transforming a tavern adjacent to the venue into a high-end sports bar and restaurant that will include the William Hill Sportsbook. In January, BetMGM, in partnership with the Washington Nationals, announced plans to open a sportsbook and restaurant facility at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. However, under the District’s sports betting regulations, mobile sports betting platforms connected to the venues’ sportsbooks can operate within only a few blocks surrounding the facility. Arizona’s sports betting law allows up to 10 Indian tribes to offer sports betting. The same opportunity is being provided to 10 professional sports teams or venues. In Maryland, the state’s six casinos, racetracks, sports stadiums and arenas, off-track betting facilities, a select number of bingo halls, and other small businesses that meet revenue requirements may operate retail and statewide online betting. Eilers and Krejcik Gaming analyst Chris Grove called Maryland’s law “an all-comers model.” When comparing the prospects for the two states, Grove said that factor might give Maryland “a slight edge” over Arizona, which has a population advantage. Grove said Maryland’s license fee “is friendlier to smaller companies” than the fees required by Tennessee, the only other state with a similar open-licensure structure. “That will result in a greater diversity of brands, some of which will be niche brands that could expand the market,” Grove said. With Arizona and Maryland onboard, there are now 22 states (including Washington, D.C.) that offer legal sports betting and six states where it’s legal, but not yet operational. One might question if Arizona’s emergence into the sports betting world could present a challenge to Nevada. Phoenix is a Las Vegas feeder market and a five-hour drive from the Strip. Also, sports betting operators not currently in Nevada could establish mobile wagering operations in the Grand Canyon State. Phoenix is the fifth most populous city in the U.S., has seven tribal casinos in its metropolitan area, and is home to teams in the four major professional sports leagues. Both the PGA Tour’s TPC Scottsdale and the NBA’s Phoenix Suns have announced sports betting deals and more are expected. “Las Vegas will never lose its position,” Slane said when asked in Arizona sportsbooks would cut into Nevada’s handle – $4.3 billion in pandemic-stricken 2020 and a record $5.32 billion in 2019. “Las Vegas is a tourist destination, and no other market will hurt it.” Added Grove, “I’m not sure that Arizona will cost Vegas any business, at least not in the aggregate.” He said a handful of Arizona residents might shift their demand from Vegas to Arizona sportsbooks. However, “legal sports betting in Arizona will also create a whole new audience that will now have an additional reason to visit Vegas.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.