Maryland Online Sports Betting Application Process Still Months Away

The application process for Maryland mobile sports betting is expected to start rolling out this year, a top state gaming official told last Thursday.

Maryland Lottery and Gaming Agency Director John Martin said the long-awaited process will begin “a little bit later this year” when questioned about Caesars CEO Tom Reeg’s public skepticism about a Maryland mobile launch in a first-quarter 2022 earnings call held May 3. 

“I certainly understand Mr. Reeg’s skepticism and I wish I could offer him a more optimistic timeline for our mobile strategy,” Martin said in a phone call to Gaming Today. “We have a great relationship with the Caesars family, and we’re looking forward to working with Caesars should they decide to apply for a mobile sports wagering license — and I’m sure they will — when that process begins a little bit later this year.” 

Up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses could potentially be awarded under Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law.

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Martin said the application process will follow both a sports betting industry analysis and adoption of mobile sports betting regulations to be completed by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission

SWARC, which cooperates with Maryland Lottery and Gaming to bring retail and mobile sportsbooks to the state, will be responsible for selecting all of Maryland’s mobile sports betting operators and as many as 30 competitive brick-and-mortar licensees through a competitive bid process.

Once licenses are awarded by SWARC, all licensees – mobile and in-person – are investigated and monitored by Maryland Lottery and Gaming before any licenses are issued. 

“We anticipate the completion of the industry analysis hopefully very, very soon,” Martin told Gaming Today. “We’ll be ready to go when we finally get the green light from SWARC that the study’s complete.”

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Maryland’s sports betting law also allows for 17 non-competitive in-person licenses at locations designated in the law. Five of those locations — MGM National Harbor (BetMGM), Live! Casino (FanDuel), Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (Caesars), Ocean Downs Casino (TwinSpires), and Hollywood Casino (Barstool) — are now operational.  

Maryland Lottery and Gaming reported in a press release today that the five casinos collectively reported a handle of $26.9 million for  April, with a 10.5% hold of $2.83 million. 

Four more designees have been awarded licenses by SWARC, but have yet to launch. Martin said the four are currently working with Maryland Lottery and Gaming to ensure all systems are operational before opening to the general public. 

The remaining eight of the 17 designees, said Martin, will enter the sports betting fray when they’re ready.

“They’re making those commitments internally, and all we can do is be supportive.” 

AP Photo/David Richard

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Maryland Sharp. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.