The public’s call to launch mobile sports betting in Maryland grows louder by the day. To expedite the launch process, regulators decided Thursday that Maryland will award licenses on a rolling basis rather than set a universal approval date.
Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin confirmed that the Old Line State should see
online MD sports betting before the end of the year.
Maryland plans to expedite online launch
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) met Thursday to prepare members on the process for awarding sports betting licenses.
In the hopes of streamlining the process for all parties, Deputy Director Jim Neilson introduced a couple tweaks to the current rules governing sportsbooks.
The first was to allow staff to bypass an investigation if the applicant decides to apply for a similar license after receiving a wagering license. This would mean that operators who worked with the commission for their retail license would not need to go through the same hurdle if they applied for a mobile betting license.
The second is more technical and allows an operator to avoid purchasing a bond for their operations at the time it applies. Instead, they can show proof that they qualify for the required bond and then obtain one after the application is approved (but before it is issued).
Interested applicants remain anonymous
Maryland Lottery and Gaming will keep anonymous any applicant who has not yet been awarded a
betting license. But if the number of submissions exceeds the number of licenses available to award (90
total), both commissions will have to decide who would get a license.
Once the application period is over, committee members will assess each applicant’s business plan, their financial stability, the tax benefit to Maryland, and whether they have investors from women- or minority-owned businesses.
When retail sports betting launched in December, only 17 locations were given a preapproved license. Of those, only 7 have launched sports betting:
- Hollywood Casino – Barstool
- Horseshoe Casino – Caesars
- Maryland Live! – FanDuel
- MGM National Harbor – BetMGM
- Ocean Downs Casino – Twinspires
- Bingoworld – BetRivers
- Riverboat on the Potomac – PointsBet
Four more have since been approved and are working with Maryland to meet all the state’s regulations:
- Greenmount Station
- Long Shots
- Jockey Bar and Grill
- FedEx Field
Casino and lottery updates
Thursday’s regulatory meeting also included an update on recent casino revenue, in which casinos with retail sportsbooks noted an increase in traffic.
Maryland Live! Casino requested and was granted a temporary increase in the amount of video
lottery terminals (mostly slot machines). They currently have 3,752 and are requesting up to 150 more
to diversify their offerings.
Instant gaming enjoyed a fruitful fiscal year at over $1 billion, which is up 1.6% year over year. The national average in the space was actually down 3%. The average purchase was $6.98.
Parx Interactive coming to Maryland
Parx Maryland, formed in January 2022 in Pennsylvania and owned by Greenwood Racing, Inc. applied for a facility operator’s license. Their online sportsbook betPARX operates in Michigan (as Play Gun Lake), New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Unlike earlier applicants, the commission did not investigate Parx to see whether they qualified for a
license. Instead, they deemed it qualified since Greenwood Racing holds similar licenses in other states
that Maryland views as having acceptable standards.
One member dissented to the license.
No mention has been made as to which retail location Parx will team up with, though we may find out
more when the application is sent to SWARC for their vote.
The preapproved locations that have not applied for a license are:
- Rod N’ Reel
- M&T Bank Stadium
- Pimlico/Lauren Park
- Camden Yards
- Rocky Gap Casino (stated they will not apply)
Timeline going forward
September 26: End of the public comment period
Early October: SWARC to meet to discuss potential changes to their current regulations
October 3: Those applying for a brick-and-mortar betting license must notify the commission of their official physical address
October 21: License application deadline / revised regulations to be published in the Maryland Register
Winter 2022-23: Maryland sports betting expands with mobile sportsbooks and more physical locations
Based on this current timeline, the first online sportsbooks could launch in Maryland by November — or perhaps even the end of October.