Crab Sports Launches Betting Platform In Maryland, No App Yet

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Crab Sports has launched its mobile sportsbook in Maryland, the state lottery announced Thursday. The small sportsbook operator becomes the 11th mobile sportsbook operational in Maryland. 

Maryland’s sports betting market includes industry giants such as BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel. Fanatics Sportsbook, which hopes to challenge DraftKings and FanDuel for market share atop the industry, is licensed for both a mobile and retail sportsbook (FedEx Field) in the state. 

It’s unlikely Crab Sports replaces those well-known national brands in Maryland, but the company’s local focus holds potential value in the state’s market. Maryland’s legislature explicitly wanted to create room in the sports betting industry for smaller, local operators. Crab Sports, which is more than 50% woman-and-minority owned, is the exact type of operator legislators hoped to see in the state. 

“With diversity and a local approach being part of our DNA, we will not stop there and intend to build a truly Maryland company that partners with other local businesses, employs local team members, and enhances the reputation of the sports wagering,” Crab Sports wrote to the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission in February.

For Crab Sports to truly engage Maryland bettors and deliver a special in-state product, however, it’ll need to make a few tweaks moving forward from Thursday’s launch.  

No mobile app yet

The current sign-up process for Crab Sports is simple. The mobile platform swiftly takes in your information, confirming your personal information and creating your account. 

Unfortunately, while the initial signup process isn’t clunky, other user aspects of the current iteration provide noticeable challenges. For one, Crab Sports isn’t available in a mobile app format. That’s coming soon.

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“Neither app is available yet,” Adele Baker, co-founder of Crab Sports, told Sports Handle in an email. “The App Store will not accept your application until you have a license. We’re hoping for approval within the next few weeks on both stores and our apps will be available then.”

Without the app yet available, users hoping to use their phones or desktops to visit the sportsbook need to download Xpoint Verify to ensure proper geolocation. This process adds a step to placing wagers, but it’s only a minor inconvenience. 

In my case, however, troubles with Xpoint and Crab Sports prevented me from betting on my phone. While Xpoint verified my location separately, it wouldn’t confirm my location when using Crab Sports’ online platform. I was able to deposit money — my $25 deposit was matched by Crab Sports as part of their $410 deposit match promotional offer — but when I tried to wager, the platform was unable to verify my location. 

I reached out to a customer service representative, who responded quickly. They offered a few reasonable tips to get the platform working on my phone, although none of the solutions worked for mobile wagering. The representative, who said some users were having more success on the desktop version, apologized for the inconvenience and mentioned the mobile app coming soon.

A quick skim of the betting markets, meanwhile, showed similar odds to major betting platforms, although there was a smaller menu of available bets. For example, the college football futures market didn’t include team win totals, conference championship odds, or a Heisman Trophy market. The site also didn’t list Week 0 spreads, which most major sportsbooks have available. 

Customer service, local ties are positives

It’s understandable that a smaller, local operator might experience some technical difficulties and issues early in the process of launching. The app’s upcoming launch, which is expected before football season, should make the platform more usable. 

A responsive customer service team that offers multiple potential solutions — that’s not often the case at places like DraftKings or FanDuel — is a nice first step in developing a worthy local brand. 

In January, Crab Sports’ social media team teased local discounts for customers using the sportsbook, another possible perk for users. 

“We will reward you with discounts that you can’t get elsewhere thanks to our local MD partners,” Crab Sports tweeted in January. “What’s better — promo cash riddled with [terms and conditions], or real rewards you can use in your neighborhood?”

Crab Sports’ website says it’s partnered with Route One Apparel, Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, Quincy’s, and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Some of the expected brand collaborations are unclear, but Route One Apparel partnered with the sportsbook to help create its merchandise section, which features fun Crab-related clothing and accessories. 

The possibility of supporting a local sportsbook is intriguing, especially if local discounts and partnerships are involved. Still, for someone to want to wager with Crab Sports instead of a major industry platform, the betting product needs to be on par with industry competitors.


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