Maryland sports betting regulators have no plans to extend the state’s mobile and competitive retail sports wagering application deadline set for Oct. 21.
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, or SWARC, made that clear yesterday when it stated on its website that “at this time, Oct. 21, 2022 is the only deadline to submit applications” and application fees for up to 60 mobile and up to 30 competitive retail sports betting licenses available under Maryland’s sports wagering law.
The application window for all competitive licenses officially closes at 5 p.m. ET on Oct. 21, according to the SWARC website. The application window opened on Sept. 6.
Maryland Lottery and Gaming official James Butler reiterated that the deadline is firm at a public comment meeting held in Baltimore today on proposed final regulations governing mobile and competitive retail licensing by SWARC. Emergency sports betting regulations are in place until the permanent regulations are final, or until March 3, 2023, whichever comes first.
“We received a number of questions concerning whether there is a possibility of SWARC having additional application windows in the future,” Butler said today. The response, posted yesterday in the SWARC website FAQs, clarifies that the only application deadline right now is Oct. 21. “The establishment of any additional application window is at SWARC’s discretion and will require majority approval of the SWARC members,” Butler said, quoting the website.
According to MLG officials, the first mobile licenses could be issued within 90 days, putting Maryland mobile sports betting on track for launch by the end of 2022.
Strict Rules Govern Maryland Sports Betting Application Process
Once the application window closes on Oct. 21, SWARC will have up to 45 days to consider a mobile or competitive retail application under the current rules.
The rules are strict. Any application can be rejected if all requested materials and the nonrefundable SWARC application fee aren’t received by the Oct. 21 deadline.
The deadline is set by SWARC, but the fees are set by law.
They are as follows:
Class B-1 Facility (Retail): $250,000
Class B-2 Facility (Retail): $50,000
Comments made at today’s public comment meeting from small minority- and women-owned businesses representative Arthur Robinson indicated some Maryland businesses want the mobile licensing fee reduced.
A change in required fees would likely require state legislative action – delayed until 2023 at the earliest – although Robinson suggested SWARC might consider regulatory action on fees sometime in the future.
Robinson pointed to language in Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law that gives SWARC authority to open new application windows for unawarded mobile or competitive retail licenses.
But it is uncertain if SWARC would start a new application process, should the opportunity arise.
Maryland Mobile Sports Betting Application Process: What Might Lie Ahead
On its website, SWARC acknowledges its authority under Maryland law to open a new application window for mobile or competitive retail licenses that go unawarded.
But SWARC also makes it clear that the decision to do that is up to the commission.
SWARC does not appear ready to make that decision.
“If SWARC does not award the maximum numbers of licenses, SWARC may (but is not required to) create additional application windows for any portion of the remaining mobile licenses or Class B facility licenses. The establishment of any additional application windows is at SWARC’s discretion and would require approval of a majority of SWARC members,” according to the SWARC website.