Maryland Mobile Sports Betting Not Expected To Launch Before 2023 Super Bowl

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The 2023 Super Bowl is the new target launch date for Maryland mobile sports betting.

That’s based on a timeline released today by sports betting regulators on the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, or SWARC. The regulatory body expects the mobile sports betting application process itself to take at least three months, depending on the number of applications that are submitted. 

Up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses are possible under Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law

“Right now we can’t determine a specific timeline to complete these steps because there are many things we don’t know. We don’t know when the SWARC application will be issued,” said Maryland Lottery & Gaming official Jim Nielsen, who assists SWARC with its operations. 

“But staff believe if the application (forms) can be issued in the next week or two, it’s possible Marylanders could be able to bet on the Super Bowl on a mobile platform. And that’s certainly I think everybody’s hope,” he said.

SWARC Waiting on State Legislative Approval, Industry Analysis

SWARC today agreed to give applicants for both mobile and competitive retail sports betting licenses no more than 45 days to get their application in once the process begins. Vetting by SWARC is expected to take at least another 45 days, depending on the number of applications received.

The mobile application process is on hold pending state legislative approval of draft emergency regulations approved by SWARC last month. A legal analysis, still pending review by other state agencies, is also required for the application process to begin. Permanent sports betting regulations will take more time to approve. 

Once those hurdles are cleared, applicants must go through a background check by state regulators at MLG, said Nielsen. All sports betting operations – including internal controls – must be signed off on by MLG before sports betting licenses can be issued 

Recent SWARC actions show determination to bring Maryland mobile sports betting live. Today, the commission approved the application forms for both potential mobile sports betting operators and up to 30 possible competitive retail sports betting operators allowed by law. 

But those applications can’t be released to the public until sports betting regulations – now on hold with a state legislative review committee – are approved and filed with the state. The pending legal analysis also has the application process on hold.

Legislative Approval: When Can We Expect Action? 

SWARC Chair Tom Brandt said today he hopes the legislative review committee or AELR (Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review) will act on emergency regulations in the next several days. The sports betting industry analysis – which Brandt said last month was under review by the Maryland Attorney General – could also be finished soon.

“When that process is completed, there may be changes to the regulations and applications given initial approval today by SWARC,” Brandt said last month. “Once the emergency SWARC regulations become effective, and the industry analysis is completed, SWARC can set a date when formal applications and fees may be submitted. Then we’ll be in a position to set a timeline for additional actions.”

Brandt had said in June that he hoped SWARC would begin accepting mobile and competitive retail sports betting applications by late summer 2022. That followed a letter issued on June 14 by Gov. Larry Hogan, in which he asked SWARC to expedite its work in hopes of meeting a mobile launch goal of NFL kickoff on Sept. 8. 

A Head Start For Mobile and Competitive Retail Sports Betting Applicants 

Potential applicants eager to put their name in the ring for a competitive sports betting license may feel some frustration with regulations and the analysis still pending. 

That said, today’s approval of the application forms does allow both mobile and competitive retail applicants to start preparing their submissions. 

The application forms are now online. That allows potential applicants to see what financial documents, and other data, must be submitted when the application process goes live. 

Also, potential mobile and competitive retail sports betting applicants since June have been able to use MLG’s eLicensing portal to submit a separate application required by MLG. The applications allow MLG to determine if an applicant is qualified for a sports betting license. 

Qualified applicants will be able to apply for a sports betting license, once the application window opens in the coming weeks. 

SWARC is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 22 at 9 a.m. to take additional actions, with the ability to schedule an earlier special meeting as needed. 

Washington Commanders Awarded Retail License Wednesday

The Washington Commanders edged closer to a sports betting hub at FedExField yesterday when SWARC awarded the stadium’s subsidiary a retail sports betting license.

The license has not yet been issued, however. MLG will be able to issue a license once the stadium’s subsidiary, Maryland Stadium Sub, proves it is operational ready.

No timeline for issuing the license has been announced, although the sportsbook is expected to open sometime during the 2022 NFL season.

Maryland Stadium Sub — which is owned by Washington Commanders’ owner Dan Snyder — qualified for a retail license last week by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC).  It is one of 17 potential retail sportsbooks designated in Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law.

Also awarded a retail sportsbook license yesterday was Chesapeake Gaming LLC, which operates as Boonsboro Events Center in Boonsboro, MD. The restaurant and OTB is also one of the 17 designated sports betting locations under the 2021 law.

 

 

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Writer and Contributor
Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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