Maryland sports bettors will know before next Thursday how their state is planning its sportsbook rollout.
Draft regulations for Maryland sports betting will be released before they go before state regulators for approval on July 15, say state gaming officials. Prospective licensees and bettors will be able to review both proposed emergency and permanent regs on the Maryland Lottery and Gaming agency website before the meeting, which will be live-streamed starting at 10 a.m. ET.
Those who want a sneak peek at what to expect Thursday will find an eight-page outline of the draft regulations already posted online. It’s bare-bones but does provide a nice summary of what the state’s sports wagering provisions will be.
Here’s a shortlist of what’s in the outline:
- Applications and Investigations
- Qualification Requirements for All License Applicants and Licensees
- Issuance of a License
- License Renewal, and Denial
- Sports Wagering Licenses
- Sports Wagering Requirements and Limitations
- Wagering Made Through Online, Web-based, or Mobile Applications
Successful applicants for a Maryland sports betting license will have to be approved by the newly-created Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, or SWARC, and pass a background check before they can open a sportsbook. Around 100 or so sports betting licenses — including up to 60 licenses for mobile and online sports betting — are up for grabs under Maryland’s sports wagering law that took effect in May.
Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission Now Seated
The seven-member independent commission responsible for vetting future sports betting licensees in Maryland — or SWARC — was fully seated on July 1.
Once state regulations are final and its work begins, SWARC will make licensing decisions based on criteria set out in state regulation. Much of that criteria is still a mystery, with the exception of a statutory requirement that SWARC “actively seek to achieve racial, ethnic, and gender diversity when approving applicants,” as allowed by state and federal law.
Other criteria are still being decided but “may include business plans and physical location,” say state regulators.
When Will Maryland Sports Betting Launch?
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency is still hedging on when Maryland sports bettors can expect sportsbooks to launch in the Old Line State.
The agency states clearly on its website that “an exact date has not been determined” for a launch. It also says that some of the 17 retail facilities — pro sports stadiums, casinos, horse racetracks, OTBs, and bingo halls with at least 200 e-bingo machines — given preference for licensing under Maryland’s sports betting law could have sportsbooks open by this fall.
Businesses that aren’t among that list of 17, the agency says, could face a much longer wait of 12 to 24 months before their sportsbooks can launch.