All eyes are on Maryland as the next state to launch sports betting

A firm timeline is developing as Maryland moves forward with plans to launch sports betting in late November or December.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) will review 21 initial sports betting applications during their upcoming Oct. 27 meeting. If found qualified, they will be sent to the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) for review.

SWARC will begin reviewing qualified Maryland online sports betting operators at its Nov. 21 meeting. If awarded a license, the operators will need to have internal controls approved before launching. SWARC has 45 days to approve licenses.

The applicants

Licensed operators must complete regulatory testing requirements and a successful controlled demonstration for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming before they can launch.

John Mooney, managing director of Regulatory Oversight for the MLGCA, provided no details on the initial applications received that will be reviewed during the Oct. 27 meeting.

“So far we have received 10 applications to be a sports wagering operator and we’ve also received 10 mobile sports wagering license applications. We have a pair of 10 and we also received three B2 applications,” Mooney said.

Caesars Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook have publicly announced they have plans to operate in the Maryland mobile sports wagering market.

Retail sportsbooks are already operating in the state at the following locations:

Are Maryland regulations “weird?”

SWARC took a final look at public comments on their approved regulations during a meeting on Wednesday.

The SWARC regulations were published in the Aug. 26 edition of the Maryland register with a 30-day public comment period, from Aug. 26 until Sept. 26. Also, SWARC held a public meeting on Sept. 9 where they also received public comments.

“All eyes will be upon us to get online sports wagering started in the state of Maryland and we become the gating step in the process,” said SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt. He also asked the opinion of commission consultants on how Maryland’s regulations matched with other states offering sports wagering.

Brandt asked, “As you watched our Maryland process in the context of sports wagering around the United States. How do our regulations appear? Are we in a good place to do business? Are we weird? You guys have a vantage point that I think it’s healthy for us to be aware of.”

“I would say that the regulations kind of fall in the middle of what we’ve seen,” said Cezar Froelich, an attorney with Taft law firm, a consultant to the commission.

Froelich continued, “There are some that are frankly easier to comply with, not much difficulty in getting potential regulatory approval for a license. There are a handful of states that are a little bit more difficult. I think that the regulations themselves are fine. I think the process we went through was a lot more difficult for the reasons that had previously been discussed rather than the study and the like. But the regulations themselves, I think they’re smack-dab in the middle by in large.

Maryland is ready to award up to 30 facility licenses and 60 mobile licenses for sports betting.

“We are licensing people to do business for a long time in our state and our hope is that these are viable people with the good technology and the appropriate capital to be engaged in sports wagering,” Brandt said during the Wednesday meeting.

Political Editor

Keith Stein is a freelance journalist based in Virginia. He has experience in freelance writing, full-time journalism and supporting monthly and weekly news publications. He has also worked as a contributing writer with United Press International.