BALTIMORE — Mobile sports betting in Maryland took a step forward on Thursday.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission decided to allow rolling approval of online sportsbook licenses, rather than call for a universal start date for all sportsbooks.
That move to consider and approve individual sportsbooks on a rolling basis and allow them to take bets immediately after receiving a license (and regulatory testing) could accelerate the launch of online sports gambling to this year, rather than 2023 when anticipated.
Sports Wagering Application Review Commission recently opened its application process for online sports betting and Class B facility sports betting licenses.
MORE: Mobile sports betting won’t launch in Maryland for months, despite prodding by Hogan
Businesses and individuals pursuing a license will need to submit an application by Oct. 21.
Sports Wagering Application Review Commission may take up to 45 days to consider applications and potentially find them qualified for a license.
Online sports gambling could be launched by late November or early December.
According to online sports betting expert Robert Linnehan, once licenses are awarded by SWARC, operators must then complete regulatory testing requirements and a successful controlled demonstration for Maryland Lottery and Gaming before they can receive the license and launch online sports betting in the state.
Sports Wagering Application Review Commission Chairman Thomas Brandt told Linnehan that the rolling approvals will only happen if the commission receives less than 60 online sports betting applications. The Maryland sports betting bill caps online sports betting licenses at 60 in the state.
Linnahan added that by allowing a staggered launch, Maryland will not have to wait for the full complement of sportsbook applicants to be approved before launching sports betting, likely allow SWARC to quickly approve licenses for sportsbooks such as Barstool, FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, and PointsBet, as they’ve already been vetted by the commission and Maryland Lottery and Gaming for their retail sports betting services.
Gov. Larry Hogan has not been shy about his frustrations with the mobile sports betting delay in Maryland. In June he called on the committee to grant final approval by NFL regular season in September.
“Staff hopes Marylanders can bet on the Super Bowl on a mobile platform,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency COO Jim Nielsen said in the meeting.
Marylanders voted to approve sports betting in November 2020, and the first five sportsbooks opened in the state in December 2021.
Bettors can go to six venues in the state and place in-person wagers, the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Live! Casino in Hanover, the Horseshoe Baltimore, Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, Bingo World in Brooklyn Park, and the Hollywood Casino Perryville.
Sports bets at those casinos have contributed over $5 million to the state’s coffers this fiscal year, according to figures by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. But Linnehan said an overwhelming sum of that revenue will come from those using their phones.
CBS Baltimore Staff