The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission met Wednesday morning, and the organization revealed a loose timeline for a legal mobile sports wagering launch. Most Marylanders likely won’t be thrilled with the projected timing.
James Nielsen, the chief operating officer of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, shared during the meeting that “it’s possible” Marylanders could bet on mobile sportsbooks by the Super Bowl in February 2023. It doesn’t seem likely that legal mobile books will be available in Maryland in 2022, despite voters approving sports betting through a 2020 referendum. Retail sports betting launched in the state in December 2021.
— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) August 17, 2022
Specifics on mobile launch
SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt mentioned two important steps left before the SWARC releases mobile wagering applications. First, the SWARC needs the Maryland Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Legislative, and Executive Review to approve the SWARC’s emergency regulations.
“We hope this vote will take place in the coming days and that our approval will be forthcoming,” Brandt said.
Brandt said there’s hope the proposed regulations will be published in the Aug. 26 edition of the Maryland Register. There will then be a 30-day public comment period on those rules, and it was mentioned that a meeting will be held on Sept. 9 to receive some public comments.
“If substantive comments results in changes in the regulations, then release of our applications could be delayed,” Brandt said.
Secondly, the SWARC is still waiting for a disparity analysis related to diversity measures in the state’s sports betting industry. The analysis began in March.
This is such a failure. It’s amazing to see how other states have been able to move on getting this up and running so much more efficiently. Granted, the law was written poorly, but there’s no excuse that it continues to be unclear when it will be up
— Joe Nye (@NyeJoe) August 17, 2022
“Certainly, it has taken much longer to receive this analysis than any of us expected,” Brandt said.
Once the SWARC officially releases applications to the public — it’s possible that happens by the end of September — there will be about a 45-60 day process when applicants can submit license applications. The SWARC will then work to approve those applications, and the lottery will perform final technical checks before mobile sportsbooks can officially launch.
An early 2023 launch appears to be the most realistic outcome, although no concrete timeline was shared Wednesday. The SWARC is scheduled to meet next on Sept. 22.
FedEx Field/Commanders awarded license
Maryland Stadium Sub LLC and Chesapeake Gaming were each awarded retail sports betting facility licenses by the SWARC.
Maryland Stadium Sub is owned by Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Commanders, and he plans to have a retail sportsbook at FedEx Field. Wednesday’s progress pushes that plan forward, although the Commanders have yet to officially announce a partnership with an operator that could run that sportsbook.
“Our organization is grateful for the time and effort by the State of Maryland and its leaders to develop a regulatory framework and review our application to operate a retail sportsbook at FedExField,” the Commanders said in a statement to Sports Handle. “We endorse the approach taken by leaders across Maryland to invite equitable and diverse participation in the legal sports wagering market, and we are looking forward to revealing more about our plans to stakeholders and fans alike in the weeks ahead.”
Chesapeake Gaming’s license is for a sportsbook at the Boonsboro Events Center’s off-track betting facility.
Once each entity is ready to open its retail sportsbook, the Maryland Lottery will perform final checks, often during a soft-launch period. Final lottery approval allows those sportsbooks to fully launch to the public.
Betfred, which will operate a sportsbook at Long Shot’s in Frederick, received lottery approval for its operator license earlier this month. Betfred’s operator license did not require SWARC approval. A temporary sportsbook is expected to open at the location before the start of the NFL season on Sept. 8.
Orioles announce partnership with SuperBook
The Orioles announced a partnership with SuperBook Sports on Wednesday, sharing that they expect to bring a retail sports lounge to Oriole Park at Camden Yards at some point in 2023. SuperBook Sports is well-known in Nevada and has a growing presence across the country.
We're proud to announce our official partnership with the @Orioles!
— SuperBook Sports (@SuperBookSports) August 17, 2022
“The Orioles are thrilled to partner with SuperBook to enhance our gameday experience with the introduction of their first-ever on-premise sports lounge,” T.J. Brightman, the Orioles’ senior vice president and chief revenue officer, said in a release. “While our organization is striving to build the next World Series contender in Charm City, we are constantly exploring unique opportunities to engage with Birdland’s diverse fanbase and welcome new visitors to downtown Baltimore. The addition of a SuperBook sportsbook only reinforces our iconic ballpark’s standing as one of the premier entertainment destinations in the region.”
According to the release, the lounge will “feature the amenities and viewing experience of a live sportsbook with the ability to place bets from the palm of your hand.”
Camden Yards is one of the 17 locations designated by Maryland legislation to receive a sports wagering facility license. FedEx Field and M&T Bank Stadium (home of the Baltimore Ravens) were also designated to receive sports wagering facility licenses.