A Maryland Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWARC) meeting this month gave little clarity as to the state’s potential timeline for the launch of mobile sports betting. A lottery meeting Thursday didn’t offer any hints either.
The SWARC is waiting for the results of a disparity analysis study from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office before moving forward.
“SWARC and the Maryland Lottery Agency are continuing to prepare regulations for the application process, and evaluation criteria for the license awards, so that we may issue license applications and commence the bidding process for the sports wagering licenses as quickly as possible after receipt of the industry survey,” SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt Jr. said at last week’s meeting.
While there wasn’t much news on Maryland’s mobile sports betting side in February, retail sports betting news in the state continues to trickle out of SWARC and lottery meetings.
Lottery issues initial license approval
Bingo World, which is located in Baltimore, was granted initial approval for a sports wagering facility license at Thursday’s lottery meeting. There was a brief discussion about the company’s finances, but the majority of commission members voted to approve the motion to approve.
Next, Bingo World will need to receive approval from the SWARC as it gears up to launch a retail sports betting option in partnership with Rush Street Interactive. Once approved by the SWARC, final approval from the lottery would clear the way for a retail betting launch.
A handful of Maryland retail casinos went through the approval process in late 2021, as retail sports betting launched in the state in December. BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel are among the national operators with a retail presence in the state through the five casinos. A few other locations are expected to open retail sportsbooks in the near future, although launch dates for Riverboat-on-the-Potomac (PointsBet), Long Shot’s, and Greenmount Station have yet to be announced.
Rush Street Interactive, Bingo World’s operator partner, was granted Maryland market access this week, per a release from the company. RSI also gained access to Ohio and Missouri. On Thursday, the Maryland lottery found that RSI MD qualified for a sports wagering operator license.
“The addition of Ohio, Maryland and Missouri to our market access portfolio, specifically, builds on RSI’s success in neighboring states and will create enhanced marketing efficiencies for our BetRivers.com brand,” RSI President Richard Schwartz said in a statement. “We continue to engage in productive dialogue with industry participants, such as tribal and commercial casinos and other stakeholders, to further our expansion into new states. We expect to continue entering into additional market access arrangements in the future, as other opportunities arise.”
Lottery meeting notes
As is typical at lottery meetings, several casino representatives spoke briefly about their previous month. The discussion around sports wagering was largely positive, as retail operators in the state had a successful January.
Hollywood Casino Perryville discussed the pending opening of its Barstool Sportsbook, offering a rough timeline for when construction might begin on that specific retail wagering area within the casino.
“It should start construction in the next 30-45 days,” Timothy Shea, the casino’s vice president of operations, said Thursday.
The lottery’s next meeting is scheduled for March 24, and the SWARC typically meets on the third Wednesday of each month, which would mean a March 16 meeting for the group. That meeting may yield more information regarding a potential path forward and timeline for Maryland’s mobile betting launch.