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Maryland finally launches online sports betting applications

Neil Roarty profile picture
Updated 4 weeks ago on
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After an extended period of delay and dithering, Maryland has opened the application process for online sports betting. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission has announced businesses have 45 days to submit applications.

“We know sports fans are eager to have mobile wagering, and we also know that it will substantially increase the contributions to education funding, so we’re eager too.”

The delay with the application process will mean that mobile/online wagering will not launch in time for the start of the NFL season, but there’s hope it will still be live before the close of 2022. The Sports Wagering Application  Review Commission (‘SWARC’) has opened the door for up to 60 mobile licenses, and 30 Class B facility licenses.

How long is the application process going to take? 

Businesses and individuals wishing to pursue licenses have until October 21st to apply, with applications and non-refundable application fees due then. Applicants are also required by SWARC to submit all materials for background checks and investigations to Maryland’s Lottery and Gaming’s eLicensing system within 30 days of submitting the application to SWARC.

After the application window closes, SWARC has 45 days to review the applications and complete background checks before awarding applications, meaning a pre-2023 launch is optimistic yet arguably unlikely.

Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin commented: “We know sports fans are eager to have mobile wagering, and we also know that it will substantially increase the contributions to education funding, so we’re eager too. We’ve been doing everything we can to have it launch before the end of the year, and now we have a good chance to make that happen.”

Martin’s optimism may stem from the fact that retail operators will have already completed the background checks and could therefore be accelerated through the process to launch a book before the year end.

What caused the delay?

The delay in the launch of the application process was SWARC’s legislative mandate to ensure a ‘diverse industry in the state’. It concluded that it is “not able to apply any race and/or gender-conscious criteria in its evaluation of applicants.” The criteria applied instead is that applicants must demonstrate 5% ownership by individuals with a net worth of less than US$1.85m and each applicant must submit a diversity plan to the SWARC on top of the background information required by Maryland’s Lottery and Gaming eLicensing system.

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Neil Roarty is a gambling industry veteran with over 15 years experience writing and editing in both Europe and North America. He is a regular speaker at gambling conferences and appears as an author in many industry publications.

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