Maryland Online Sports Betting Launch Could Still Be Several Months Away

Maryland hopes to begin accepting mobile sports betting license applications in late summer 2022, according to state gaming regulators overseeing the process. But a Maryland mobile sports betting launch could still be months away.

It’s a regulatory issue. Applicants who qualify for a Maryland mobile sports betting license would have to be approved by state regulators on the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) and thoroughly investigated by a second group of state regulators at Maryland Lottery and Gaming (MLG) before any mobile sports betting license is issued.

Up to 60 mobile sports betting licensees are possible – each requiring significant regulatory review before launch.

That could potentially push a Maryland mobile sports betting launch far beyond a Sept. target date set by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. In a June 14 letter to SWARC, the governor asked the commission to prioritize mobile licensing so that mobile apps could launch in Maryland by NFL regular season kickoff on Sept. 8.

“To make that target date achievable, it is imperative that you immediately accelerate and intensity your efforts,” Hogan wrote to SWARC.

Maryland Mobile Sports Betting: Regulatory Steps Ahead

At SWARC’s June 29 meeting, commission chair Tom Brandt said mobile sports betting applications will be accepted by SWARC after proposed mobile regulations and the mobile application have received final approval.

When that will happen is hard to say. Initial approval of the regulations is expected to be given by SWARC at its next scheduled meeting on June 20. The commission is also expected to approve the mobile application at that time.

Rules proposed by SWARC must then pass state legislative review and a 30-day public comment period before they can take effect. Depending on how quickly that process plays out, the application submission process could start in late August.

Additionally, Brandt said SWARC is waiting on the completion of a required sports betting industry analysis that may add more steps to the regulatory process.

“I’m sharing this information to help us all adjust expectations as we proceed with our responsibilities,” Brandt said at the June 29 meeting of SWARC. “It’s our continued hope that we may be able to begin accepting applications in late summer.”

E-Licensing Now Open For Mobile License Qualification

While businesses are waiting to apply for a Maryland mobile sports betting license, they don’t have to wait to start qualifying for one. An e-licensing portal was opened by MLG in mid-June to potential applicants that want to start the licensing qualification process. 

All sports betting licensees in Maryland must qualify for a license through MLG before SWARC can award them a license. Once a license is awarded, it can be issued by MLG. According to comments made at the June 16 SWARC meeting by MLG official Jim Nielsen, businesses that want to apply for license qualification through the e-licensing portal must pay MLG a fee of between $2000-$5200, with a partial refund possible for businesses that decide to back out early.

Nielsen said e-licensing is an opportunity for potential applicants to have their questions answered before deciding to qualify for a Maryland mobile sports betting license – each carrying a fee of $500,000.

“We’re doing our best to make sure this is painless as possible, but help them as much as we can,” said Nielsen.

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