The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission met Wednesday morning, and while Marylanders patiently await an update on mobile sports betting in the Old Line State, they won’t get that from this meeting.
During the SWARC’s last meeting in late April, assistant attorney general Dave Stamper said there was no update in regards to the state’s disparity survey. This is viewed as one of the last major roadblocks standing in the way of legal mobile betting coming to Maryland.
There was no update yet again on Wednesday in regards to the survey. In fact, it wasn’t even really brought up. This makes the initial target launch date for mobile sports betting for Week 1 of the NFL season increasingly more unlikely.
Here’s what was discussed on Wednesday instead:
Sports Wagering Education Summit
The SWARC summarized the educational outreach summit it hosted earlier this month. The commission estimates a total of 90 attendees, a majority of whom were industry experts (sports marketers, lawyers, etc.). Only about five or six of those who showed up fit the mold of a small business curious about applying for a sports wagering license, although the weather may have been a factor for a lower turnout.
With all that said Kimberly Copp of Taft Stettinius & Hollister was happy with the event overall, saying it was a “truthful, honest, and successful event.”
Chairman Tom Brandt raised a potential red flag that having only a handful of small businesses “suggests a significant hurdle for us in attracting quality applicants … given the constraints articulated at the seminar.”
In short, one panel discussion talked about the risks and the business potentials of incorporating sports betting. The second panel brought up the legal/surveillance side and added that not all banks or insurance companies would take on customers in this space due to a higher scrutiny/risk.
Drafting the application
The commission moved on to discuss the drafting of the sports wagering application. The draft application will not be ready anytime soon, however. Some members will meet behind the scenes before the next meeting to provide initial thoughts and settle “policy decisions.”
An update on licensees
Of the 17 pre-awarded licensees, Maryland Lottery & Gaming COO Jim Nielsen added that staff is working with Riverboat on the Potomac, Long Shot’s, Greenmount Station, and Bingo World “at their pace” to get internal controls in place, but they are in frequent contact with each place.
He then added that three of the 17 started the application process.
Current retail sports betting operations that are up and running:
- Live! Casino & Hotel
- MGM National Harbor
- Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
- Hollywood Casino Perryville
- Ocean Downs Casino
No sports betting at Rocky Gap Casino
On whether all 17 were going to apply, Nielsen listed Rocky Gap Casino as one place with no current intention of taking on sports betting. It was also noted that Rocky Gap may not be alone as the only facility that does not apply.
The next SWARC meeting is Thursday, June 16. Follow along with PlayMaryland here as we monitor the latest updates and developments in the Old Line State.