Maryland Sports Betting Update From Lottery Director John Martin

Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin this week shed some light on the process his agency is using to get online sports betting in Maryland up and running during a webinar for gaming regulators.

The webinar, hosted by Vixio Gambling Compliance, included gaming directors from three states. The other two participants were Cathy Judd-Stein from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Matt Schuler from the Ohio Casino Control Commission. 

Martin also participated last year in the webinar for the first Meet the Regulators discussion. 

The event served as a roundtable discussion around sports betting in each of the three states looking at where the market stands as well as the next steps for their respective jurisdictions. 

Martin gave some updates on when we’ll likely see mobile sports betting launch in Maryland.

The Launch Process for Maryland Sports Betting

In addition to the frustration from Maryland sports bettors anxiously awaiting the launch, they are also having to go through the long process which has proven to be very slow. 

The sports betting law in Maryland states that for a license to be awarded the entity must be approved by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) and by MLG. 

Potential licensees have until Oct. 21 to submit their applications for both retail and mobile licenses. There are up to 30 retail licenses and 60 mobile licenses available. 

Another requirement is that there needs to be a mandated analysis in regard to including small businesses, women, and minority-owned businesses. Martin said that it took almost a year to receive that study after it was requested which is another reason the process has taken so long. 

A launch date will rely on how quickly SWARC completes its processes. 

“We are waiting on SWARC to award licenses and we’ll move quickly on that if they move favorable it could be as early as the end of November if not it could be closer to the middle of December but I am confident that there will be mobile wagering in the state of Maryland in 2022,” Martin said. 

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Main Focus

It’s a busy time for Maryland Lottery and Gaming as well as the SWARC as both organizations are working towards the mobile launch of sports betting. 

“Our main focus is really on qualifying those applicants and helping the awardees quickly move forward to various operational and regulatory requirements,” Martin told VIXIO. 

After that those applications will be sent over to SWARC to award the license and conduct a review of business plans. 

Once SWARC completes that review then MLG will have to finish the final step of looking at internal controls, a responsible gaming program, and operational requirements before a business can start.

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Challenges

It’s easy to get excited with the launch being close but Martin says that they must manage expectations in the next two to three months. It’s not lost on Maryland Lottery and Gaming how important it is for mobile sports betting to launch. 

“No matter when we start or how many licenses we issue between mobile and retail someone somewhere is not going to be happy but the reality is we need to get this done,” Martin said. “It’s long overdue and I understand the frustration.”

Martin also announced that by Oct. 27 they will announce publicly who they determined to be qualified applicants for a license during a public meeting.

About the Author

Kayleigh Toney

Kayleigh Toney is a Virginia-based freelance sports writer at Maryland Sharp. She’s an avid NWSL and USWNT fan and a lifelong Virginia Tech Hokie.