Answering Questions About Maryland’s Mobile Wagering Launch

Maryland is about a month away from launching legal mobile sports wagering. As the rollout approaches, I’ve received many questions from Marylanders asking what the rollout will look like.

Want a better understanding of how the next 4-6 weeks will look for Maryland sports bettors? Here are the most frequently asked questions about country launches and answers to common questions.

When mobile wagering will run?

Perhaps the most frequently asked question by Marylanders centers around the mobile sportsbook’s launch date. Seth Elkin, lottery assistant director of communications for public affairs, said Sports handle via email the lottery can not “circle the date on the calendar” but an early-December launch seems more likely than a late-November launch.

The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission will review the mobile sportsbook license application at its November 21 meeting. The SWRC is expected to grant the license at the meeting. After that, the lottery will do a technical check through a controlled demonstration. Once the sportsbook passes that step with the lottery, it will be given permission to launch.

“We will aim to complete a controlled demonstration as quickly as possible after the SWRC makes the award,” Elkin said.

Why can’t mobile launch now?

Lottery considered 10 qualified mobile license applicants last week, so why the state regulator can not give mobile sportsbooks entry now?

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It’s understandable that some Marylanders are frustrated by the long, long waits for mobile sports betting. After all, Maryland voters approved sports betting via referendum in November 2020. It will be more than two full years before Maryland sports wagering platform is launched.

Understandable frustration should not be directed at the weeks SWARC and its law firm (Taft) have to review the materials of qualified applicants.

“The period between [last week’s] The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission meeting and the SWRC’s November meeting will provide the SWRC with the time it needs to review the applications received,” George Butler, who works with the state Legislative Department, said. Sports handle via email.

What is required for application review?

“To fulfill the purpose of the law, SWRC is examining the ownership structure of entities that seek to hold sports wagering licenses and evaluating their business plans,” said Butler. “SWARC also evaluates each application to determine why [awarding] sports wagering license to apply for is ‘public interest’ as required by law.

While it is likely that well-known operators currently operating retail sportsbooks in the country will issue mobile betting licenses, SWARC cannot assume its responsibility to monitor every applicant.

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Why did the launch take so long?

Perturbed Marylanders should direct their frustration to legislators, rather than SWARC. Maryland’s sports betting legislation is basically created SWRC for entities to look specifically at diversity and inclusion in the state’s sports betting market.

As a result, SWARC is required by law to conduct a disparity study to see whether or not it can legally implement race- or gender-aware measures when applying for sports betting applicants. The process of assigning the disparity study and completing it was not done efficiently, and ultimately determined that SWARC could not legally conduct race or gender conscious measures.

SWRC did, however, add another provision aimed at including various businesses in the industry.

“SWARC sets forth a provision requiring that any entity that holds a license must have at least 5% direct or indirect ownership by an individual with a personal net worth of less than $1.847 million,” Butler shared. “Satisfaction of those requirements by each applicant is one area the SWRC is currently evaluating.”

In the end, not much is being done to guarantee freedom in the country’s sports betting market. This is not to say that there is no variety of sports betting in Maryland – Long Shot and Riverboat on the Potomac are good examples – but Maryland legislation basically forced SWARC to move at a glacial pace in the hope of creating a diverse wagering industry.

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Time will tell if Maryland creates a dramatically more inclusive sports betting market than others across the country. There is a possibility that the country’s different sports betting legislation will delay the distribution of tax revenue without dramatically increasing diversity in the industry.

What mobile sportsbooks are coming to MD?

When mobile sportsbooks finally launch in Maryland, customers will have access to several major carriers. Here’s a list of 10 mobile operators that are currently in the process of getting a license:

It may be that some of these entities took longer to launch than others, but DraftKings and FanDuel are among the carriers that have already advertised the upcoming Maryland launch. It shows that they will be the first to live in the country.

Any retail betting in Maryland?

Yes, there are currently eight retail sports books operating in Maryland. A legal retail sportsbook launched in Maryland in December 2021.

Eight sportsbooks are at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Live! Casino in Hanover, Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, Bingo World in Brooklyn Park, Riverboat on the Potomac in Charles County, and Greenmount Station in Hampstead. The Greenmount Station retail sportsbook launched at the end of last week.


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