Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Committee held its first meeting Monday morning and tackled one piece of business during the public portion of the meeting. The SWARC voted that it will not require additional information from certain licensees and will let Maryland Lottery and Gaming handle the review and distribution of licensees named in the law.
The decision means the commission could vote on key sports betting venues as soon as at its September meeting, setting up the possibility that sports betting could go live in some fashion in Maryland during the NFL season. Maryland Lottery and Gaming rolled out proposed rules in mid-July, but those have not yet been finalized.
Though the commission won’t have a heavy hand in the application review process for these venues, it will have to vote to “award” the licenses, which are available to a host of named entities, including casinos, professional sports venues, OTBs, racetracks, and two bingo parlors.
Sports betting in casinos, bingo halls, OTBs
Maryland’s sports betting law specifically names 20 sports betting venues that will get licenses:
- Live! Casino
- Horseshoe Casino
- MGM Casino
- Hollywood Casino
- Ocean Downs Casino
- Rocky Gap Casino
PROFESSIONAL SPORTS VENUES
- Oriole Park
- FedEx Field
- M&T Stadium
HORSE RACETRACKS and OTBS
- Laurel Park
- Pimlico Race Course
- The Maryland State Fair
- Rosecroft Raceway (harness)
- Fair Hill Races (steeplechase)
- Long Shots
- Riverboat on the Potomac
- Greenmount Station
- Jockey Bar and Grille
- Bingo World
- Rod ‘N Reel
Each group will be issued a different type of license, and the licensing fees range from $50,000 for companies with 25 or fewer employees and gross receipts of less than $3 million annually, up to $2 million for the state’s biggest casinos and professional sports venues.
SWARC’s main task: Class B licenses
While the SWARC voted to break out this group of 20 potential licensees and leave most of the process to Lottery and Gaming, it does have to develop its own set of regulations and an application process to handle other licensees going forward. In the end, the SWARC will deal with the Class B and mobile license processes, including compliance with the state’s special emphasis on diverse representation among sports betting companies and preference for minority-owned enterprises.
Chairman Tom Brandt said the SWARC’s missions are to award licenses, establish a license application process, and determine if a licensee is “in the public interest.”
The committee will have to manage myriad exclusion zones protecting named sports betting licensees and negotiate the most comprehensive minority business guidelines around sports betting in the U.S.
On Monday morning, though, the nearly hour-long meeting was really just an introduction for Brandt and the six other appointed members. Brandt reviewed highlights of the new sports betting law and listed the named licensees, explained the application fees, discussed exclusion zones, and laid out the commission’s goals but with no hard timeline.
The group has plans to meet monthly, and though no decision was made, Brandt suggested the week of Sept. 20-24 for the next meeting. Marylanders legalized sports betting via ballot referendum in November 2020, and lawmakers approved a framework bill in April.