Maryland Lottery director John Martin has a message for sportsbooks looking to apply for a betting license: “Tick tock”.
Now that the sports betting application phase is nearing an end, Martin says that come Oct. 27, regulators will reveal the first phase of online sportsbooks being assessed for approval.
MD online sportsbooks to launch in phases
Maryland is set to jump headfirst into online MD sports betting before the end of the year, and it isn’t waiting around on a full bus for launch.
Instead, Martin says Maryland’s online sportsbook buses will depart from the station in stages:
“Not everyone will be ready to be in the first wave . . . we’re going to leave in December, the bus is going to start rolling with whoever is on it.”
Martin discussed the potential schedule for awarding licenses during a WNST radio station interview earlier this week.
Following the official application deadline on Friday, Oct. 21, Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission will send a list of eligible applicants to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission. These eligible applicants will include companies who have completed the required forms and paid the non-refundable deposit ($500,000 for mobile licenses).
At that point, the Maryland Lottery steps in to finish the qualification process — an undertaking that isn’t expected to take much time.
Maryland to reveal first online sportsbooks on Oct. 27
Thursday, Oct. 27th will then mark the first MLGCC meeting following the deadline. Here, regulators will conduct a hearing on the initial phase of applicants, unveiling which sportsbooks could launch first in Maryland.
Once concluded, the applicant’s information returns to SWARC to conduct a final review of documents and complete the award process. If SWARC awards a license, then it returns (one final time) to the MLGCC to establish sportsbook operations. This includes assessing the company’s internal controls, Responsible Gaming program, and performing demonstrations before their official launch.
Martin acknowledged, however, that extenuating circumstances could still alter current expectations, saying December is the month they hope to have mobile betting available if the SWARC can act efficiently on their end.
First potential sportsbooks to launch
The most likely sportsbooks that have been ready and waiting to apply are those that already have footprints in the state.
Caesars Sportsbook, Barstool Sportsbook and BetMGM have each been taking in-person bets for nearly a year now within their respective Maryland casino locations. Moreover, all three have already discussed their anticipation over launching online betting in Maryland.
Additional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks currently operating in Maryland are:
The final retail sportsbook on that list, however — TwinSpires — will not be applying for an online license. Its parent company, Churchill Downs, has announced they are exiting the sports betting industry.
Since the remainder of these companies already met with the Maryland Lottery upon applying for a retail betting license, they should be approved expeditiously. Many of the steps to qualify for a retail license overlap with the requirements for an online license.
Sportsbook onlookers vie for Maryland entry
Sports betting and DFS giant DraftKings is currently in the process of obtaining a retail license. The brand announced its State Fairgrounds partnership in August. However, the retail application shouldn’t pose any issues or delays in the online application process.
Some other sportsbooks that currently lack presence in Maryland include:
- Hard Rock
This list could fluctuate, however, once the first phase of eligible sportsbooks is announced during the next MLGCC monthly meeting.