The Maryland sports betting license commission is now more than half full. Late last week, MD Senate President Bill Ferguson took care of his duties, naming two individuals to posts on the group that will review and make decisions on applications for licenses to offer sports betting in MD.
Ferguson’s appointments follow two designations from MD House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones.
Only three spots remain vacant right now. At this rate, serious action on license applications for MD sportsbooks might not be far off.
Two more sports betting license commission members
The enabling statute for MD sports wagering charged Ferguson with naming two members of the seven-person commission. Ferguson chose Laura Gamble and Rosie Allen-Herring for the spots. While neither has any experience in the gaming industry or with regulating gambling, they are well-versed in their respective fields.
Gamble is a regional president for PNC Bank. She has more than three decades of experience in the financial industry. Additionally, she sits on the boards of both Mercy Health Systems and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Allen-Herring also has a background in finance. She currently works as the CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area. Similar to Gamble, Allen-Herring sits on the boards of MedStar Health and A.T. Still University.
While the MD Sports Betting Application Review Commission still lacks experience operating a sportsbook among its membership, the appointees have been strong on another emphasis in MD law. The personnel is strong in terms of minority representation.
Appointments suggest state will take minority involvement seriously
In the enabling statute, priority was placed on ensuring minority-owned, small- and medium-sized businesses would have a chance to take part in sports betting. The commission already has great representation along those lines.
Three of the current four members are women. Two of those three – Allen-Herring and Cassandra Stevenson – are Black women. It’s now up to Gov. Larry Hogan to appoint his choices to two of the three remaining spots.
MD Lottery & Gaming Control Commission chair E. Randolph Marriner has the option to join the review commission himself. He can also appoint someone to act in his stead. So far, Marriner has given no public indication of which way he is leaning.
If Hogan makes his appointments quickly and Marriner follows with a decision, that will lend toward getting MD sportsbooks live this fall. However, the review commission can’t act until the lottery commission finalizes regulations and makes application forms available.
Still, the pace at which legislators filled these spots suggests the state is serious about getting regulatory devices in place in a timely manner. It also seems serious about creating a path for all potential candidates in MD to get some skin in the game.