Baltimore Sun

SuperBook replacing Dempsey’s at ballpark

‘Sports lounge’ among changes fans will see at home opener

- By Hayes Gardner

Dempsey’s is now SuperBook.

The Orioles last month closed Dempsey’s Brew Pub, a restaurant staple at Oriole Park at Camden Yards since 2012, and will replace it with SuperBook Bar & Restaurant. A worker painted a “SuperBook” sign outside the B&O Warehouse on Tuesday afternoon.

SuperBook Sports bills itself as “the world’s largest sportsbook,” but its themed restaurant at the Baltimore ballpark will not operate as a traditiona­l sportsbook. Instead, it will be a “sports lounge,” per an Orioles news release last year. Patrons will be able to place wagers on their mobile device, just as they can elsewhere in the state after online sports wagering was launched in November.

“The sports lounge will be highlighte­d by a social atmosphere, including food and beverages, as well as a comfortabl­e seating [area] for fans to enjoy the game and place live sports bets,” the news release from August said. “It will feature the amenities and viewing experience of a live sportsbook with the ability to place bets from the palm of your hand.”

While the lounge was announced in August, it was not yet officially known where it would be located. It will be open for opening day, an Orioles spokespers­on confirmed to The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday.

The replacemen­t of Dempsey’s — named for Rick Dempsey, the Most Valuable Player of the Orioles’ last World Series in 1983 — is one of a few changes at Camden Yards this offseason. The club in January replaced its longtime concession operator with a new company and, in February, took down the “The Sun” sign, which had been prominentl­y featured in right-center field since the ballpark opened in 1992.

The Orioles and SuperBook Sports will be involved in a “long-term partnershi­p,” per last year’s release, but they did not disclose the terms or length of their agreement. The release said that “SuperBook branding will be prevalent throughout the ballpark, including on the center field scoreboard and home plate signage.”

For decades, major pro sports leagues avoided endorsemen­t of gambling. Nevada was the only state where gambling was legal and Las Vegas, the country’s gambling hub, was without a major pro team until 2017. However, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018 permitted states to make their own laws

about sports wagering and now, within five years, it is legal in more than 30 states.

In 1993, just 41% of Americans approved of betting on pro sports, but that number rose to 55% in 2017 and jumped to 66% in 2022, per a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Many pro sports teams have partnered with sportsbook­s in the wake of its rise in popularity and profitabil­ity. The Ravens previously announced partnershi­ps with BetMGM, DraftKings and Caesars, and the Washington Commanders in January became the first NFL team to open a sportsbook at their stadium.

The Cincinnati Reds opened a retail sportsbook at their ballpark, also in January, becoming the second MLB team (after the Washington Nationals) to do so. Unlike the SuperBook restaurant at Camden Yards, fans can place wagers with cashiers at those brickand-mortar sportsbook­s.

Marylander­s voted to legalize sports wagering in 2020, and physical sportsbook­s opened in 2021. However, online betting was not launched until November 2022, with seven online providers initially receiving approval from the state. Others, like SuperBook, were recently approved by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission and will soon launch.

SuperBook also applied for and was* granted a license to operate a physical sports wagering facility in addition to its online presence. However, it has not partnered with another company — a necessary step — to open a physical sportsbook.

The Orioles, who are wrapping up spring training, will begin their regular season in a little over a week. They’ll play a three-game series at Boston starting March 30 and three games at Texas beginning April 3 before hosting the New York Yankees in their home opener April 6.

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