The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission held a public comment meeting Friday, allowing Marylanders to share opinions on proposed sports betting regulations. The period only lasted about 30 minutes, and the few comments shared were brief.
Friday doesn’t represent the final day of public comments, however, as written comments will be accepted through Sept. 26. After that, suggested changes will be considered and possibly included in the state’s sports wagering regulations.
Reduce fees for small businesses?
One commenter, who shared his name as Arthur Robinson but didn’t provide any additional details of his connection to the sports wagering industry, suggested the SWARC reduce application fees for certain small businesses. Robinson seemed alarmed at the $500,000 application fee for mobile licenses, feeling it’s a steep barrier to entry.
Robinson also wanted the SWARC to make the application fee refundable. Currently, if an organization officially applies for a license and isn’t approved, the application fee is non-refundable.
Those comments were among the most substantial offered, although it’s unclear if the SWARC will seriously consider either suggested change.
Mobile sportsbooks are expected to launch in Maryland in late 2022, according to the estimated timeline shared by the SWARC and Maryland Lottery earlier in the week. Applications for mobile sportsbooks are open, and they’ll remain open until 5 p.m. on Oct. 21.
After the Oct. 21 deadline, the SWARC will begin reviewing applications and awarding licenses. That process could take up to 45 days but may be faster, creating the possibility that mobile sportsbooks launch in Maryland soon after the Oct. 21 deadline.
I haven’t gambled since the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012. That streak ends today.
Shoutout to the state of Maryland for dragging their feet and taking almost two years after approval to get sports betting on your phone. It’s 2022, I shouldn’t have to go to a casino!
— Kris (@RavenManiac) September 8, 2022
Some of the timing will depend on the speed of approval from the SWARC and lottery, but major operators like BetMGM, Caesars, FanDuel, and DraftKings shouldn’t have much trouble working through the regulatory steps, given their expertise and nationwide presence.
As for the application window that closes on Oct. 21, it’s currently the only available window to apply for mobile sports wagering licenses. It’s possible that the SWARC will open up another application period in the future.
“The establishment of any additional application windows is at SWARC’s discretion and would require approval of a majority of SWARC members,” the SWARC’s website says.