Maryland Governor to SWARC: Act Now, Launch Mobile Sports Betting Before NFL Season

Posted on June 15, 2022

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan called out the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) on Wednesday morning. In a letter posted to Twitter, he urged the group to “act immediately” in regard to getting mobile sports betting off the ground in the Old Line State.

“Instead of decisive action to implement the voters’ decision, you have allowed the process to stagnate and become mired in overly bureaucratic procedures that have needlessly delayed the state’s ability to maximize the revenue potential of this emerging industry,” Hogan wrote.

The initial hope was to get Maryland online sports betting live by the time the upcoming NFL season kicks off in September. Hogan reiterated that timeline in Wednesday’s letter.

“To make that target date achievable, it is imperative that you immediately accelerate and intensify your efforts,” Hogan said.

What’s holding up the launch of mobile sports betting?

The official launch awaits the completion of a disparity survey conducted by the state. This study aims to reveal any potential hurdles for minority- or women-owned businesses from getting involved in the industry.

The SWARC had no update during its last two meetings on where the study is in the process. The commission, in charge of approving all state retail and online licenses, will next meet on Thursday, June 16.

Hogan called for the SWARC to set a “firm and transparent timeline” at Thursday’s meeting.

“Our state and its citizens deserve definitive action and a legal, transparent framework to place mobile bets—not endless bureaucratic roadblocks that continue to hold back progress,” the Governor said to the SWARC.

There have been some reports indicating mobile sports betting may not launch in Maryland until early 2023.

On Monday, Cordish Companies CEO David Cordish said “it will be years, maybe generations before they can figure it out.” In May, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg shared a similar sentiment, saying he’s “skeptical Maryland launches mobile (sports betting) in 2022.”

HB940, signed in May of 2021, establishes a framework for as many as five dozen online sportsbooks.

In-person sports betting already available

Retail sports betting has been live at five of the state’s six casinos since December 2021. They are:

Each casino’s respective operating partner is expected to launch a mobile app once online sports betting is live. The lone exception will be Ocean Downs Casino, whose partner, TwinSpires, has discontinued its mobile sports wagering operations.

For the latest on mobile sports betting in the Old Line State, be sure to check out PlayMaryland‘s Live Updates page.

Photo by AP Photo / Brian Witte
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Griffin Adams

Griffin Adams is the managing editor for PlayMaryland, where he oversees news coverage on the site. His previous work has appeared in publications such as The Athletic, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and MLB.com, among others. Outside of work, Adams can be found on the golf course, playing pick-up basketball or trusting the process as a loyal Philadelphia 76ers fan.

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