Maryland Sports Betting Committee Advances First Licenses In Debut Session

Sports betting is getting closer to reality in Maryland, as the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) held its first meeting last week. On August 16, the committee voted to move venues that have received designated licenses to further review. That process is overseen by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA).

While 17 specific venues named in the law are first in line to launch in Maryland, sports betting will not go live in the state in time for the start of football’s regular season. Regulations still need to be published through the Maryland Register, and there is a mandatory 30-day public comment period that follows.

Expectations are for the publication of these regulations to happen later in August. Meanwhile, an application process will be created for other businesses looking to obtain a license. They can expect to wait between one to two years. 

Additional moves will take place at the next meeting for SWARC, scheduled for the week of September 20. This follows the second Sunday of the NFL regular season.

Licensing Process And What To Expect

Different licenses are distributed with various fees based on business size and venue type. Class A licenses are noncompetitive and consist of professional sports team stadiums (such as the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium) and larger casinos. Licensing fees reach as high as $2 million under this class designation. 

Seven Class B licenses are going to four off-track betting venues, two bingo halls, and the state fairgrounds. A $250,000 fee comes with those licenses. A Class B-2 license has a $50,000 fee and businesses must have 25 or fewer employees qualify.

SWARC will award up to 30 Class B licenses for retail sportsbooks and 60 mobile licenses. In the application process for competitive licenses, the committee will put an emphasis on small businesses owned by women and minorities.

Venues will also have exclusion zones to protect their competitive edge. A 1.5-mile radius is given around Class A and B licensees. Some venues, including Hollywood Casino and Ocean Downs Casino, qualify for a 15-mile radius.

About the Author

Brian Spaen

Brian Spaen is the Managing Editor for Maryland Sharp. He has been a content writer and editor in various industries, including sports betting, environmental technology, and higher education. Brian is a graduate of Iowa State University and currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa. He’s an NFL and MLB fan.