Maryland Sports Betting Won’t Launch In Time 2021 NFL Season Kickoff

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan threw cool water on the hope that legal sports betting would launch in the state by the start of the NFL season.

In a recent interview with Maryland Matters, Logan said the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency told him, “it’s just impossible to get it done by the start of football season.

“I pressed them pretty hard about making sure we get it done at least by the end of football season when all the betting takes place, really — in the playoffs and the Super Bowl,” the governor added.

Hogan in June signed into law sports betting legislation passed by lawmakers earlier in the year.

While industry stakeholders and sports bettors were optimistic of a more expeditious timeline, rules regulating the business in the state still need to be finalized.

Rules were approved by the MLGCA and will next be reviewed by a legislative committee, before being published in the Maryland Register. Then begins a 30-day public comment period. There are just 23 days left until the NFL season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 9, when the Buccaneers host the Cowboys.

The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which will award licenses to sports betting operators as part of a two-step process, held its first meeting Monday.
The MLGCA is tasked with establishing the application process and conducting background checks on potential licensees.

What Legal Sports Betting In Maryland Will Look Like

Once it gets up and running, Maryland’s sports betting industry promises to be robust. The law calls for up to 60 mobile and 40 retail licenses, and this level of competition will be fantastic for the customer. There will be plenty of places to play, and operators will be motivated to offer competitive odds and sign-up bonuses, as well as innovative products and betting markets.

These pro sports facilities, casinos, and horse tracks are eligible for the 10 Class A retail licenses.

  • Pro sports facilities: Oriole Park, M&T Bank Stadium, FedEx Field
  • Casinos: Horseshoe, Live!, MGM, Hollywood, Ocean Downs, Rocky Gap
  • One license between Laurel and Pimlico racetracks

A-1 licensees — which include the three sports franchises, as well as the three casinos with 1,000-plus video lottery terminals (Horsehoe, Live!, MGM) — will be required to pay a $2 million application fee. The racetracks and casinos with fewer than 1,000 VLTs face a $1 million application fee as A-2 licensees.

Class B licensees, seven of which are named entities (the Fairgrounds, four OTBs, and two bingo parlors), will pay an application fee of either $50,000 or $250,000, depending on the size of their business.

Mobile licenses require a $500,000 application fee.

Sports betting revenue will be taxed at a 15% rate, and Maryland Sharp estimates the industry will generate $255 million in annual revenue for the state,  $217 million from mobile wagering.

Sports Betting Operators Marylanders Are Likely To See

In May, less than 24 hours after Gov. Hogan signed the sports betting bill into law, the Ravens announced a marketing deal making BetMGM the team’s official gaming partner.

In June, PointsBet entered into a strategic partnership with Riverboat on-the-Potomac, one of the four OTBs designated as Class-B licensees, giving the Australian-founded operator market access in the state.

Penn National Gaming in July acquired Hollywood Casino Perryville, making Barstool a likely sportsbook brand in the state. BetMGM and Caesars also have casino properties in Maryland.

Of course, Marylanders will almost certainly have DFS-turned-sports betting companies DraftKings and FanDuel as options.

The state is also putting an emphasis on licensure for women- and minority-owned businesses, although the barriers for entry in this industry are pretty high for startups to overcome.

About the Author

Marcus DiNitto

Marcus DiNitto is Senior News Editor for Gaming Today. He has been managing editor at SportsBusiness Daily, Sporting News, The Linemakers, and USA Sports Gaming. Marcus earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.