Hollywood Casino Hoping To Take First Retail Sports Bets In The State

Written By J.R. Duren on June 8, 2022
The Race Begins To Draw In Retail Sports Bettors

For a long time, sports betting was just a pipe dream in Maine. Now that it’s a reality, look out!

The state’s three federally recognized tribes and up to 10 retail locations will be engaged in a frenetic race to launch sports betting first. And, if it’s up to Hollywood Casino General Manager Austin Muchmore, your first bet will happen at Hollywood.

“We’ve actually had people calling us for years asking when sports betting is coming, so we’re glad to at least finally be able to say, ‘Yes, it’s law,’” Muchmore told Bangor CBS affiliate WABI5.

“Stay tuned. Unfortunately, it’s going to take longer than I think most people expect, but we’re doing everything we can to make sure that the first bet, when it’s allowed, is placed at Hollywood Casino.”

How Hollywood’s sports betting rollout could look

Is Muchmore optimistic, or could Hollywood be the first nonmobile gaming facility to launch sports betting? The answer to that question is a little complicated.

When states legalize sports betting, there’s usually a start date when wagering can start. In Maine, it’s 90 days from when Gov. Janet Mills signed sports betting into law. So, at the very least, Hollywood Casino has around three months to go.

Penn National announcement may come first

What will those 90 days look like?

There are a couple of things to watch for. First, expect an announcement from Hollywood’s owner, Penn National Gaming, about a sports betting partnership.

The company will likely say they’re excited about the developments in Maine and are getting ready to offer a top-notch sports betting experience through a company like DraftKings or FanDuel.

Watch for news about a temporary sportsbook

Second, Hollywood Casino will announce its plans to build a sports betting area.

Normally, a threemonth timeline would mean a likely scenario is that the casino will build a temporary sportsbook within its current facility. In the meantime, they will build a permanent sportsbook. The temporary-to-permanent move is something Penn National also did at its Hollywood property in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

And while this would be a dream scenario for Maine sports bettors, it most likely wont work out this way.

Hollywood might be first…two years from now

Words from Maine’s gambling czar, Milton Champman, the Maine Gambling Control Units executive director, revealed that Hollywood and other retail locations shouldn’t be in a rush to open.

Why? Because Chapman believes it could take up to two years for sports betting to launch in Maine.

Forming rules and regulations will be a lengthy process requiring public hearings, comments from the public, and wrangling among regulators, he said in an interview with the Bangor Daily News. So, you probably won’t see temporary sportsbook locations sprout up across Maine.

Instead, you’ll likely see Hollywood, Oxford Casino Hotel, and other properties announce they are building standalone sportsbooks. Casino and gaming operators know that they have time before they take their first bets. And, new construction will build excitement among casino patrons, which is never a bad thing.

Retail locations will need all the help they can get to compete against mobile sports betting.

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