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MGM National Harbor Opens First Sportsbook In The State, Hogan Bets On All-Maryland Super Bowl

OXON HILL, Md. (WJZ) -- MGM National Harbor Casino has officially been issued the state's first sports wagering license and opened the betting public on Thursday.

Gov. Larry Hogan, Washington football legend Joe Theismann, Prince George's County Council chair Calvin Hawkins and representatives from BetMGM cut the ribbon on the new space.

Hogan placed the first bet and wagered the Washington Football Team -- he referred to them by their old name, seen by many as a racist slur against Native Americans -- and Baltimore Ravens would meet in Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI.

The bet would pay more than $20,000 if it hits, the governor said.

In less of a longshot, Theismann picked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to defend their title against the New England Patriots, a game that would pit Bucs quarterback Tom Brady against his former head coach, Bill Belichick.

"My heart's with Washington, but my bet's here," he said.

Hawkins bet the Washington Football Team would beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday (the money line is +175, according to USA Today).

Before opening, MGM National Harbor completed two days of controlled demonstrations under the supervision of Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff. Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore and Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover are expected to open sportsbooks on Friday after finishing their own controlled demonstrations.

"It's hard to overstate how exciting this moment is; we couldn't be happier to see sports wagering get started," said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. "It's a new form of entertainment that we know Marylanders will enjoy, but more importantly, it's delivering a new stream of revenue for public education in the state. We're especially proud of that."

Gamblers are excited to have sports betting close to home.

"I've been going to DC. I've been going to Virginia," said Barry Washington.

"It's been a long time. Back in the day, I had to ride down to Dover, Delaware to place bets," said Juwan Reese. "Now, I'm two minutes away."

Sportsbooks in the state will contribute 15% of their revenue toward education funding. The General Assembly's Department of Legislative Services estimates casinos will provide between $15 million to $25 million per year for schools, according to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission.

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