Fast Tracked: Maryland Online Sports Betting Aiming for Thanksgiving Launch

Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission may announce a launch date for Maryland online sports betting at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Even if that doesn’t happen, it seems likely that Maryland sports bettors can expect to place wagers from the comforts of their home by Thanksgiving Day.

At the Nov. 16 meeting, SWARC will award as many as 10 sports betting licenses, but industry observers are most anxious to learn when Maryland will allow sportsbooks to operate in the state. The Nov. 16 meeting was originally scheduled for Nov. 21.

In a release on Monday, Nov. 14, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission said “the eagerly awaited launch of mobile sports wagering in Maryland may take place in time for Thanksgiving.”

It’s unclear if the MLGC will announce the official launch date during the Nov. 16 meeting, though it does promise to pick a date after SWARC awards licenses.

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Which Sportsbooks Will be Available When Maryland Sports Betting Launches?

Many of the top sportsbooks in the United States have applied for licensing in Maryland, which is a small market with a large sports fan base. The state hosts the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Commanders of the NFL, the Baltimore Orioles of MLB, as well as the popular Maryland Terrapins, who compete in the Big Ten in college basketball and football.

Most potential sportsbooks in Maryland have chosen to partner with existing gambling operators in the state and could be live on the first day of the market.

Among the applicants are DraftKings (via Timonium Race Track), BetMGM Maryland (via MGM National Harbor), Barstool (via Hollywood Casino Perryville), FanDuel (via Live! Casino and Hotel), PointsBet (partnered with Riverboat on the Potomac), Caesars (via Horseshoe Casino Baltimore), and BetRivers (via Bingo World in Baltimore).

Typically, sports betting operators are required to demonstrate their sportsbooks to regulators before entering a live market. That process can take as little as a few days or weeks. It’s possible that some of the operators that receive licenses on Wednesday will not be ready by the announced launch date.

Maryland legalized sports betting in May 2021 when Gov. Larry Hogan signed the Sports Wagering Act into law. Under the law, as many as 30 Class B retail licenses and 60 mobile licenses can be granted. Retail sports betting debuted last winter.

The SWARC received 21 applications for mobile sports betting licenses and six facility or Class B applications before the Oct. 21 deadline.

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Sportsbooks in Maryland Will Debut in Phases

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission regulates sports betting and gaming in the state and authorizes the SWARC to hold hearings to determine licensing applications. A statement from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming on Monday, Nov. 14 revealed that a launch date will be announced after the Nov. 16 SWARC meeting. The MLGC stated that “on a rolling basis, there will be additional Maryland Lottery and Gaming qualification hearings, followed by SWARC license award meetings.”

If that schedule holds true, sports betting will be launched in phases in Maryland, with the first approved operators going online on launch day, and more to follow as MLGC and SWARC complete their work.

SWARC revealed the 10 applicants who will be considered on Nov. 16 for operators licenses as:

  • Arundel Amusements (Bingo World)
  • BetMGM Maryland Sports LLC
  • Crown MD Online Gaming LLC (DraftKings)
  • CZR Maryland Mobile Opportunity LLC (Horseshoe Casino Baltimore)
  • Greenmount OTB LLC
  • Long Shot’s LLC
  • Maryland Stadium Sub LLC (Washington Commanders)
  • PENN Maryland OSB LLC (Hollywood Casino Perryville)
  • PPE Maryland Mobile LLC (Live! Casino and Hotel)
  • Riverboat on the Potomac

“Our staff has been in continuous contact with these mobile sports wagering businesses, and has already guided them through many of the necessary steps,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said. “The last hurdle is for them to have controlled demonstrations, and SWARC’s awards of licenses on Wednesday would clear the way for that to happen.”

AP Photo/Nick Wass

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.