When will legal mobile sportsbooks go live in Maryland? That’s the question every sports bettor in the state wants to know the answer to, and the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission shared some insights into a possible launch date at its Thursday meeting.
The commission plans to evaluate applicants for mobile sports betting licenses on a rolling basis once the application window closes on Oct. 21, assuming there are fewer than 60 applicants. Maryland legislation allows for up to 60 mobile licenses, so if there are fewer than 60 applicants, the SWARC can evaluate and award licenses on a rolling basis without worrying that the process will unfairly keep an applicant from receiving a license. The commission doesn’t expect to receive 60 applicants, so it’s highly likely the applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis.
By awarding licenses in that manner, the SWARC can accelerate the timeline for mobile sportsbooks to launch in Maryland.
Theoretically, it shouldn’t take the SWARC long after the application window closes to approve certain mobile applicants. For example, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, and PointsBet all have retail sportsbooks in Maryland. Those applicants have been vetted by the SWARC and Maryland Lottery for those retail operations, which should make the process of awarding those operators mobile licenses straightforward.
That doesn’t mean Marylanders should automatically expect mobile sportsbooks to be available to them by the end of October, but a quick turnaround is doable. Given the current information, it seems quite possible that legal mobile sportsbooks will be available in Maryland in November, and mobile sportsbooks should definitely be available for Marylanders by the end of 2022.
My Maryland resident self looking at my phone watching my Virginia and Pennsylvania friends have fun on their sports betting apps. pic.twitter.com/jVZ5vkwGwf
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) September 22, 2022
Taft, a law firm working with the SWARC, plans to help the SWARC commissioners during the evaluation process of licenses. Taft plans to provide commissioners a “matrix” with quick information on various responses from applicants, essentially organizing the applications into an easy-to-understand chart. The law firm also plans to provide a brief summary on each applicant, once again breaking information down into a more digestible manner for the commissioners.
From there, the SWARC commissioners will meet and start awarding licenses to applicants.
Public comment period nearly over
A 30-day public comment period on emergency regulations ends Monday. Once the comment period ends, SWARC commissioners will receive reports from staff members on the comments, which are expected to include proposed changes.
The SWARC plans to hold a special meeting in early October to discuss the comments, as it’s the commission’s goal for any changes to be published in the Oct. 21 edition of the Maryland Register. This lines up well with the rest of the timeline for the launch of mobile sportsbooks.