The Maryland Lottery met Thursday, giving initial approval to Queen Sportsbook Maryland for a mobile sportsbook operator license. The operator is “currently evaluating third-party platforms for servers” to operate the mobile entity.
Queen Sportsbook next needs to be awarded a license by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which is expected to meet in mid-May. The SWARC has already awarded 15 mobile sports betting licenses, although only nine digital books are as yet operational in Maryland:
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
- SuperBook Sports
Twenty licensees by 2024?
In addition to the nine active mobile sportsbooks in Maryland, Bally Bet, betPARX, Crab Sports, Fanatics Sportsbook, and WynnBET are all licensed in Maryland and could launch in the near future. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Fanatics plans to go live in Maryland “by June.”
The SWARC received 21 mobile sportsbook applications in its initial application window, meaning the commission still has six licenses left to award in coming months. If Queen Sportsbook is awarded a license in May, that number dips to five licenses left to award.
The awarding of a license doesn’t mean Marylanders immediately gain access to that mobile sportsbook. As Bally Bet, Fanatics, WynnBET, and others have shown, it can take months for a sportsbook to launch its mobile application following the award of a license.
Still, it’s possible Marylanders could have access to at least a dozen mobile sportsbooks by the end of 2023.
Keeping promotional play rules
Based on Maryland sports wagering regulations, licensees are required to report their use of “free promotional play” during the prior year and recommend suggested changes to promotional tax deductions. In Maryland, licensees can exclude all promotional play from taxable income in their first fiscal year of operation. After the first year, the deductions “may not exceed a percentage of the licensee’s proceeds received in the prior fiscal year that equates to 20% of total sports wagering proceeds that the sports wagering licensee generated in the prior fiscal year.”
Running 2023 YTD #SportsBetting numbers; Maryland last on 4/11
GGR WR: 8.8885%
AGR WR: 7.6137%
Known Deductions: $251,008,062
Taxes: $320,733,552 #GamblingTwitter
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) April 11, 2023
Essentially, Maryland regulators hope a year of promotional play helps move bettors away from unregulated platforms and onto legal, regulated betting platforms. After that, there’s a desire to reduce promotional deductions to better maximize tax revenue generation.
None of the state’s sports betting licensees recommended the state make any changes. Barring any last-minute changes, Maryland’s regulator and the sportsbook operators licensed in the state will proceed forward with the current promotional deduction system.