Caesars Entertainment is not banking on the state of Maryland launching mobile sports wagering anytime soon.
In a recent first-quarter earnings call, Caesars’ CEO Tom Reeg said he is “skeptical Maryland launches mobile in ‘22.” As a result, he added, Caesar’s probably will not invest in Maryland digital sports wagering this year, although many forecast mobile wagering to go live in Maryland in the fall of 2022.
For now, Reeg said Caesars is focused on investing in other states that are further along in the launch process of mobile sports betting.
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Reeg hinted that a large percentage of Caesars’ digital wagering investment in 2022 would be funneled into the state of Ohio. The sports betting market in Ohio is expected to generate $3.35 billion annually at full maturity. Ohio state regulators are preparing to award licenses in mid-2022.
Ohio is expected to launch mobile wagering later this year and the state has already legalized retail and online sports betting.
“We have an Ohio launch in front of us, that would be the only launch that I can think of that would have significant costs surrounding it,” Reeg said.
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Maryland Online Sports Betting — Where Does It Stand?
While it may not happen this year, Reeg made it clear that Caesars does expect to invest in digital sports betting in Maryland.
“If and when mobile launches you should expect us to be competitive there as well,” he said.
The current holdup with mobile wagering in Maryland is due to the state not yet adopting all of the regulations needed to award mobile licenses. The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission is still drafting rules for this. SWARC is one of the two regulatory bodies that oversee the sports wagering industry in the state of Maryland.
SWARC has to adopt regulations before applications for mobile wagering licenses can be submitted. Once those regulations are filed, SWARC is permitted to award up to 60 mobile licenses to qualified applicants. However, SWARC has not yet said when the regulations will be adopted.
On the commission’s website, it says it is “drafting regulations to govern the application process” as it conducts a sports betting “industry analysis.” The website says that “these tasks must be completed before the application process can begin,” and “updates on the status of SWARC regulations will be provided on swarc.org as the regulations are being promulgated.”
Although it appears mobile wagering in Maryland will definitely launch at some point, Maryland sports fans are going to have to wait a while, as other states seem to have placed a greater sense of urgency on the launch and licensing processes. Maryland is a legal sports betting state as of April 2021, and Maryland sports bettors can wager in person at several retail locations.