The (Long) Road To Maryland Sports Betting

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State gaming regulators today approved 228 pages of Maryland sports betting regulations that will guide the state’s licensing and operational rollout expected this fall. 

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission voted unanimously for approval of the sports wagering emergency and nonemergency regulations for sportsbook licensing and operations in a 30-minute teleconference this morning. But the application process for the state’s more than 100 potential sports betting licensees can’t start just yet.

There are several regulatory steps left. 

Several Regulatory Steps Remain

Legislative Review

The Commission’s approval is the first step in the regulatory process. The next required step is review and approval by the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review, or AELR. 

James Butler, the managing director of compliance at Maryland Lottery and Gaming, told Gaming Today that AELR’s timeline for approval isn’t clear, but he hopes the committee will act soon. 

Once the AELR gives regulatory approval, the regulations will be published in the Maryland Register, which lists all approved state regulations. 

Public Comment

Once the regulations are published, then a 30-day public comment period will start. The public will be able to comment on the regulations during this time. 

Consultant

Another step is the hiring of a sports wagering consultant by Maryland’s Department of Legislative Services. That person has not yet been named. Their job will be to review licensing applications with the independent Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, or SWARC — the agency responsible for vetting sports betting applicants under Maryland law.

SWARC 

Two sets of regulations — one for the state commission and SWARC — must be approved before the application process can start. Since SWARC has yet to meet, a timeline for approval of regulations that will guide its work is unknown.  

Maryland Still Hopeful For A 2021 Launch

Even with much left to do, Maryland is still setting its sights on a fall 2021 sportsbook launch. The first sportsbooks to go live will likely be at any of 17 facilities given licensing preference under state law. Pro sports venues, Pimlico, and the state fairgrounds are among the 17. 

Up to 60 mobile/online licenses available under Maryland law could also be issued this fall. But nothing’s final. 

Maryland Lottery and Gaming says it will update the public as a firm timeline develops. For now, however, the agency says “a date has not yet been determined.” 

“Until these steps have been completed, it will not be possible for businesses to begin the application process,” regulators say. 

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

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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