Step-By-Step Guide To A Maryland Sports Betting Launch

Maryland will soon become the latest state to vet and license sportsbooks within its borders. Maryland sports betting regulations are expected to be approved next month, with application deadlines and licensing to follow.

Still, there are additional steps to take before businesses can apply for the 60 mobile sports betting licenses and dozens of retail licenses that will be available under the state’s sports betting law signed in May. 

The first step is approval of the regulations by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission, tentatively scheduled for July 15. Once that’s done, and all regulations are operational, then the application and licensing process can begin. 

Here is how that process is expected to work: 

Sports Betting Operator Approval 

Sports betting applicants in Maryland will have to pass a review by the newly-created Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) and background check by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming agency before they are licensed: 

  • Licenses will be awarded by the seven-member SWARC based on specific criteria in regulation that may include business plans and location. Other criteria will include the state’s intent to achieve racial, ethnic, and gender balance among approved applicants. Two members of the new commission were appointed by Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones this week. 
  • Applicants must then undergo a criminal and financial background check by Maryland Lottery and Gaming before they can be issued a sports wagering license. 

Sports Betting Application Fees

Application fees — submitted with each application, and nonrefundable — will be based on the type of license being awarded.  The fees range from $2 million for a Class A-1 license awarded to professional sports venues and large casinos to $50,000 for a Class B-2 licensee including the state fairgrounds and Riverboat on the Potomac. 

The application fee for one of 60 mobile/online licenses available under the new sports betting law will be $500,000. 

Sports Betting Licensing

Each license will be valid for five years, and will be renewable. The renewal fee for each license will be 1 percent of each licensee’s average yearly proceeds over the preceding three years, excluding 15 percent of gross sports betting revenue that each licensee must pay to Maryland’s education fund. 

Sports wagering licensees will keep the remaining 85 percent of gross sports betting revenue. 

Live Sports Betting

A firm launch date for Maryland sports betting is unknown although the Maryland Lottery and Gaming website does say “some of the entities named in the (new law) may have their brick-and-mortar sports wagering operations up and running during the fall of 2021.” 

Maryland’s new law sets aside 17 licenses for specific venues, should they apply. The businesses — listed on the Maryland Lottery and Gaming website — include professional sports venues like FedEx Field and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, as well as casinos, horse racetracks, OTBs, and bingo halls. 

Although they are almost assured a sports betting license, those entities must still apply, pay their fees, be approved by SWARC, and pass a background check before a license can be issued.

What’s Next?

Aside from tentative approval of the regulations by the state gaming commission on July 15,  there’s no firm timeline for what happens next with Maryland sports betting.

 “Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can tell you at this point,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Assistant Director of Communications for Public Affairs Seth Elkin said in an email to Gaming Today yesterday. “(We are) in the process of drafting sports wagering operational regulations, and we aren’t able to address questions about the timing of the numerous steps that will be necessary to launch sports wagering.”

Elkin said his agency’s sports wagering FAQ page will be updated as new information becomes available.

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer 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, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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