Maryland Sports Betting Still on Pace for Late Fall Launch

Maryland Maryland Sports Betting Still on Pace for Late Fall Launch
Sep 22, 2021 19:09Tim Ronaldson

Voters in Maryland approved a sports betting measure overwhelmingly in 2020 to allow for online and retail sports betting, but they still aren’t able to place legal sports bets in the state.

This week, regulators in Maryland said they are still hoping for a “late fall” launch for sports betting in the state. Even still, there isn’t a definitive timeline for when that will happen or go live — for either the online or retail side of things.

Regulators in the state are working hard to get everything in place, with rules and regulations needing to be set up still, along with official licenses being handed out. Sports bettors in the state are hoping that all gets completed sooner rather than later.

What Regulators Still Have to Do

On Tuesday, the director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, John Martin, said regulators in the state are working with upwards of 17 different entities to conduct the necessary background checks before sports betting licenses can be awarded.

The committee that is being tasked with awarding Maryland’s sports betting licenses is the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, also known as the SWARC. Martin said this week that regulators would hope to continue the “positive momentum” they’ve experienced lately so sports betting could officially be offered in the next few months.

Both sports bettors and sportsbook operators alike are hoping that proves true, as Maryland could really benefit from offering sports wagering before the end of the football season.

Last month, the application process for sports betting licenses was opened by SWARC. In the legislation that legalized sports betting in the state, there were 17 entities that were mentioned specifically.

This refers to potential operators of sportsbooks in the state, including off-track betting sites, the state’s various major professional sports venues as well as the casinos in the state. These will likely be the first facilities that could open sportsbooks both at retail and online sites.

Retail sports betting is likely to come first, with online betting hopefully not lagging too far behind that.

Which Operators are Among the 17 Entities?

Maryland’s sports betting bill mentioned 17 entities that could offer retail and/or online sports betting in the state.

This includes the state’s six casinos — Rocky Gap Casino, Ocean Downs Casino, MGM National Harbor, Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland, Hollywood Casino Perryville, and Hollywood Casino Baltimore. Some of these are either owned or have partnered with major sportsbook operators such as FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars.

The list also includes three major professional sports venues — the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Orioles’ Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Washington Football Team’s FedEx Field.

Finally, there are eight other facilities that can apply — the Stronack Group (which owns the Pimlico and Laurel Park horse race tracks), Long Shots, Riverboat on the Potomac, Rod-N-Reel, Maryland State Fairgrounds, Jockey Bar and Grill, Greenmount Station, and Bingo World.

Regulatory Structure

One of the reasons why it may be taking so long to get Maryland’s sports betting off the ground is that the state has a multi-tiered process for licensing. Larger gaming entities that are already existing are being charged higher fees. This includes the state’s casinos.

Some of the smaller businesses are going to be charged lower fees for holding a sports betting license. The SWARC is also required by law to consider minority and female ownership stakes when they are considering licenses to award.

Even these small businesses are likely to partner with larger sports betting operators, but it could be a huge benefit to those entities.

In the end, the only thing that sports bettors in the state care about, though, is when they can finally place legal wagers. Hopefully, that will come sooner rather than later.

For now, people who live on the state’s borders will have to travel to Washington, D.C.,Delaware or West Virginia.

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Tim Ronaldson
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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