The state of Maryland is eagerly awaiting regulatory changes that will make it possible for locals to place legal sports bets. It had been hoped that those changes would be active by this point, but it was an ambitious transition, and the initial deadlines were clearly a step too far.
As things stand, it could be several months before those changes take place and while we have missed the start of football season, it should be ready in time for the playoffs.
What’s Causing the Holdup?
Maryland online casinos are already preparing to welcome sports bettors. The systems are being prepared, the software is ready, but the licensing is seemingly causing the holdup.
Many companies have expressed an interest in attaining a sports betting license in the state and as of yet, it’s not clear how many of these will be granted. The licenses cost anywhere from $50,000 to $2 million and applications are being submitted by established brands and complete newcomers.
As part of the licensing process, each applicant must first be approved by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (created when the bill was passed), after which they will be checked by Maryland Lottery and Gaming to ensure there are no criminal convictions or fraud investigations.
Policies also need to be created that will govern the industry and all licensed operators. These policies are designed to protect players and to allow them to gamble with complete peace of mind.
It’s not something that can be implemented overnight and it’s pretty clear that the authorities underestimated just how difficult this process would be.
Where Will Gambling Be Available in Maryland?
Once the transition is finalized and sports betting is legal across the state, it will be possible for players to access “online casinos” (referred to as “social gaming sites”) run by local operators. They will also be allowed to place sports bets through licensed providers.
These bets can be placed on national and international events, ranging from the Super Bowl to the NBA Playoffs and the FIFA World Cup. It doesn’t mean that gambling is completely legalized in the state, though. Players in Maryland still won’t be allowed to join international casinos and sports betting sites and must stick with businesses that are based in—and licensed in—the state of Maryland.
Some of the companies that have applied for sports betting licenses include several established casino brands (including MGM National Habor, Ocean Downs, and Horseshoe), three sports stadiums, the Laurel Park Race Track, and Maryland State Fairgrounds.
A number of bars and restaurants have also submitted applications, so sports bets won’t be restricted to major casinos and traditional gambling venues and will also be available in sports bars.
Of course, it remains to be seen when and where these venues will open and what sort of betting solutions they will provide, but if the current timeline is to be believed then we could see some movement in the next few weeks.