Maryland Online Sports Betting Applications Update: November Launch Expected

It’s been a long road, but there finally appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for sports betting in Maryland.

Last Friday, Legal Sports Report reported that Maryland Lottery and Gaming (MLG) Director John Martin said he expects multiple Maryland online sportsbooks to be operating by Super Bowl, and some as soon as this calendar year.

“I’m optimistic today that we can get someone up and running before the end of the calendar year, if not more,” Martin told LSR on Sept. 16. “There will be some carryover, sure, that’s what we’ve seen with brick and mortar. Some take longer than others but that’s not because we’re not working on it. I think we’ll get some up and running, then more before the Super Bowl, then more before March Madness.”

Then, in a Sept. 22 meeting, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) doubled down by agreeing to approve individual sportsbooks on a rolling basis rather than a universal launch date.

“If SWARC does not receive more (sports betting license) applications than are permitted — namely 30 facility and 60 mobile — it may be desirable and is arguably beneficial for SWARC to award licenses to applicants on a rolling basis, as SWARC does a review of the applications and Lottery & Gaming finds the individual qualified for a license,” said Jim Nielsen, COO of MLG.

The first MD sports betting apps are now on target to launch as early as November. It’s a welcomed announcement, considering up until now, SWARC was unable to commit to even a Super Bowl launch date.

Maryland Online Sports Betting Applications Open

After multiple delays and a not-so-gentle nudge by Gov. Larry Hogan, the SWARC finally opened online sports betting applications on Sept. 6.

There are up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses and 30 class B facility licenses available. Businesses and individuals will have until Oct. 21 to submit their applications to the SWARC.

Once the application period closes, the SWARC will have up to 45 days to review and approve submissions. Applicants must also undergo a background check by SWARC and will have 30 days to submit the required information once they’ve applied for a license.

Months of Delays Slowed Process

Maryland regulators came under fire back in June for the lack of progress on the rollout of online betting.

At the time, SWARC Chair Tom Brandt defended the delay, saying that a unique Maryland law required SWARC to evaluate a study of the sports wagering industry and market to determine whether there’s a “compelling interest to implement remedial measures to assist minorities and women in the sports wagering industry.”

Brandt said regulators were working as fast as they could, but it required a lot of time, consideration of study outcomes, and legal analysis and advice to the Commission.

In August, the SWARC held an emergency meeting and approved draft regulations for mobile and retail licensing applications.

Some Applicants Moving Faster Than Others

Many applicants have already begun to submit documents for background checks while completing their applications. Martin said he is optimistic they can get some of them approved ahead of the 45-day review period.

“A number of businesses that are planning to apply for mobile licenses have already submitted information to get their investigations started, and our Licensing staff will continue guiding them through the qualification procedures,” Martin said. “We’re focused on expediting our part of the process so mobile betting can start as soon as possible.”

SWARC recently added an addendum requiring businesses to have a Diversity Plan. Once licenses are approved, operators will have 30 days to submit the Diversity Plan, and if it doesn’t meet SWARC’s requirements, they will have 30 days to revise it.

Current State of Maryland Sports Betting

Sports betting was officially launched in Maryland in December 2021 when Gov. Hogan placed the state’s first bet at MGM National Harbor Casino.

As of September, there are seven locations in Maryland with retail sportsbooks, including the most recent addition of the PointsBet sportsbook at Riverboat on the Potomac.

Maryland can expect plenty more on the way, including at FedEx Field and Camden Yards.

Recent Licensing Activity

Sept. 13 – PointsBet retail sportsbook opens at Riverboat on the Potomac.

Sept. 8 – Riverboat on the Potomac receives sports betting license.

Aug. 25 – DraftKings receives retail sports betting license and will open at Timonium Racetrack.

Aug. 18 – Maryland Stadium Sub LLC – the name the Washington Commanders applied under – receives final approval for a sports betting license at FedEx Field. The Washington Business Journal reported in June that Fanatics was expected to partner with the Commanders as its sportsbook.

Aug. 17 – Baltimore Orioles ink a partnership with SuperBook Sports, with betting at the baseball diamond expected in early 2023.

Active Retail Sportsbooks and Locations

  • MGM National Harbor BetMGM
  • Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland FanDuel
  • Horseshoe Casino Baltimore Caesars
  • Ocean Downs Casino TwinSpires
  • Hollywood Casino Perryville Barstool Sportsbook
  • Bingo World Baltimore BetRivers
  • Riverboat on the Potomac PointsBet
About the Author

Ryan Hagen

Ryan Hagen is a freelance writer for Maryland Sharp. He’s spent most of his career writing in roles that have ranged from copywriter at a boutique ad agency to corporate communications at a large oil firm. His true passion is sports, and he’s now been writing in the sports gaming industry for the last couple of years. He enjoys sports betting and usually bets a little too much when he loses and not quite enough when he wins.