BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than six months after sports betting became legal in Maryland, the first bets are expected to be made later this week.

This time tomorrow, invited gamblers will be placing bets at the Caesars Sportsbook at Horseshoe Baltimore as part of a controlled demonstration for the gaming officials.

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It’s the last hurdle before taking bets from the public as soon as Friday.

“We expect some very long lines,” said Horseshoe Casino Baltimore general manager Randy Conroy.

Finishing touches are underway Monday inside the ground floor of the casino.

“We’ll have every game visible,” said Conroy

Conroy showed us where bets will be made later this week.

“We’re 10 feet to go at the end of a marathon here,” he said.

In addition to the ticket window, there will also be 14 kiosks for people to place bets throughout the casino.

Maryland joins 28 states and D.C. to legalize sports betting. Voters approved it during the 2020 election and a bill was signed into law back in May.

More than 200 days later, only one final regulatory hurdle stands in the way of betting, which is expected to start Friday.

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“That’s kind of our final exam with the Maryland Lottery,” said Conroy.

The state’s application review commission voted last month to license sports wagering at five Maryland casinos.

Live! Casino showed us its sportsbook space in April.

For some, it’s better late than never.

“Lord, have mercy. Thank you, Jesus,” said Edward Simmons. “I get some money! Because I’m tired of going to Dover, Delaware.”

“We’re actually 12 weeks behind in the NFL season,” said Russell McPherson. “Look at the money lost.”

The commission has not yet opened the application process for mobile gaming licenses. Officials say it typically accounts for about 90 percent of total betting revenue.

“We would expect the same to occur in Maryland. I don’t see a reason why it would be different,” said co-chair of Taft’s Gaming Industry Group.

The “soft opening” under the watchful eye of gaming officials is tomorrow and Thursday.

They’re taking real bets and proceeds are going to Paul’s {lace, a local charity.

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If all goes well, they’re planning a ribbon-cutting and live betting on Friday. Gov. Larry Hogan, Mayor Brandon Scott, former Ravens Torrey Smith and Adalius Thomas, and Baltimore native and former NBA star Muggsy Bogues are scheduled to attend.

Paul Gessler