The news came a few days after Maryland’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Legislative, and Executive Review approved the SWARC’s emergency sports betting regulations. The SWARC had been waiting — not that patiently — on the legislative committee to approve the emergency regulations. Until the committee gave approval, the SWARC was unable to officially open mobile wagering applications.
Updated mobile betting timeline
Up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses are available in Maryland, and applicants have 45 days to submit their applications. The official deadline for applications is Oct. 21.
After Oct. 21, the SWARC may take up to 45 days to review the applications. The Maryland Lottery will also be involved with final approval, conducting background checks and making sure each mobile entity is prepared to launch.
“Maryland Lottery and Gaming has been hard at work on background investigations,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said in a press release. “A number of businesses that are planning to apply for mobile licenses have already submitted information to get their investigations started, and our Licensing staff will continue guiding them through the qualification procedures. We’re focused on expediting our part of the process so mobile betting can start as soon as possible.”
This timeline makes a late 2022 launch of mobile sports betting platforms in Maryland seem very possible. https://t.co/O1oGuiWLXh
— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) September 6, 2022
Given the timeline, it seems mobile licenses could be awarded by the end of 2022. This could allow for mobile sportsbooks to launch before the end of the 2022-23 NFL season, which wraps up with the Super Bowl on Feb. 12.
“This is fantastic news,” Martin said in the press release. “We know sports fans are eager to have mobile wagering, and we also know that it will substantially increase the contributions to education funding, so we’re eager too. We’ve been doing everything we can to have it launch before the end of the year, and now we have a good chance to make that happen.”
Public comment meeting
On Friday, there will be a meeting for public comment on the emergency regulations at 11 a.m. at the Montgomery Park Business Center Auditorium in Baltimore.
There’s a public comment form available for those unable to attend Friday’s session.
Public comments on the regulations will be accepted through Sept. 26, at which point they will be considered and changes to the regulations could be implemented. It would be surprising to see any major changes to the regulations, especially with the applications now open to the public.
The faster the process moves in coming weeks, the better the chance of mobile sportsbooks launching in Maryland before the end of the NFL season. Maryland could be leaving more than $10 million worth of tax revenue on the table in the next six months with legal mobile sportsbooks sidelined.
Diversity plan requirement
The SWARC met briefly Friday, and the group approved the addition of a diversity plan requirement to the application process. If the SWARC approves an entity for a sports betting license, it needs to send the SWARC a document with information related to its diversity measures within 30 days of being awarded its license. The plan will include details on the business’s plan to create diversity within its ownership, employees, investors, etc.
A diversity plan that doesn’t meet SWARC requirements won’t result in the cancellation of an entity’s license, but the SWARC will try to work with the licensee to improve its diversity measures. The plan is an effort to increase diversity in the state’s sports betting industry.