Maryland took another step toward legal sports betting this week when a state commission hosted a seminar to educate prospective bookmakers on the topic.
Last November, voters approved a ballot measure to legalize sports betting in Maryland. Earlier this year in April, the legislature authorized the creation of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to formalize how and who will be allowed to operate a sportsbook in the state. Governor Larry Hogan signed a revised bill into law in May and state officials have been working to set guidelines for operation of licenses.
The event on Tuesday held at Live Casino in Anne Arundel County was dubbed “Sports Betting 101” and attracted a diverse crowd of people from the gaming industry, all of them keen to learn of opportunities via legalized sports betting in their state. The state-sponsored event was in conjunction with experts from Spectrum Gaming Group, and drew more than 200 attendees.
Lawmakers and gaming advocacy groups in Maryland have pushed for the legalization and regulation of sports betting, citing the need for new revenue streams to fund public education. Several neighboring and nearby states, including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, attract dollars from Maryland residents for betting on college football, basketball, and professional sports.
Where Will You Be Allowed To Bet On Sports in Maryland?
Maryland will issue licenses in two different forms: Class A and B. Class A licenses are reserved for the state’s professional sports teams (Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, and Washington Football Team). Those licenses will be available at $2 million apiece as Class A-1 status.
Class A-2 licenses are designated for small casinos and race tracks. While Class B-2 licenses are to be granted to approved operators who have fewer than 25 full-time workers or less than $3 million in annual gross receipts, and Class B-1 licenses will go to the rest.
Under Maryland law there can be up to 60 mobile licenses for sports betting in the state, which any operator can apply for.
While licenses have yet to be granted, it is presumed that bettors in Maryland will be able to wager on sports:
- At retail locations within or near professional sports venues
- Online via partnerships with large companies like BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars
- At current race track locations, including Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park
- Via sportsbooks offered at smaller gaming locations like sports bars with licenses or off-track racing operations
Governor Hogan is expected to name the seven-person SWARC panel soon, which should accelerate the process of finalizing operational guidelines and the process for applying and being granted an operator license. The governor and legislators have expressed the desire to have sportsbooks operating in time for the 2021 National Football League season, which starts September 12 when the Washington Football Team hosts the Los Angeles Chargers.