It has now been eight months since the first retail sportsbook opened in Maryland, but sports fans are still waiting for the arrival of the first online sportsbook in the Old Line State. While players can go to a sportsbook anywhere from the MGM National Harbor to the Oceans Downs Casino, it looks like its online variants won’t be here until fall at the earliest.
While legislators passed the laws paving the way to legalize online sports betting in May 2021, such moves have been going slowly. This is due to the sheer legal mechanisms required to undertake the move. Already there have been a variety of disparity studies underway. Once these are processed, then hopes are high that Maryland sports fans will be able to put down mobile bets at least at some point during the upcoming 2022 NFL season.
But as it stands, there are still no legal online sportsbooks operating in Maryland. Such a situation is broadly mirrored in terms of the state’s casino gaming options. While it’s legal to play slots and table games for free at one of the many new sweeps casinos online, the same isn’t true for anyone who wants to play online casino games for real money.
Big things expected from mobile betting in Maryland
So far, the legalization of regular sports betting has proven to be a big success. Retail-based sports betting managed to bring in $26.9 in April 2022 alone, and a sizable proportion of this will have gone into the state coffers.
As recently as June, Governor Larry Hogan put in requests to speed up the launch of mobile sports betting in Maryland as he believed that it would still be possible to make September 8, 2022, the planned launch date. The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) has maintained that it works flat-out to bring in the regulation. Several draft applications were approved during its July meeting.
Already, there have been several sportsbooks setting up retail betting outlets at Maryland’s casino establishments in anticipation of the change of law. August saw BetRivers setting up shop in the Old Line State, while Fanatics has made Maryland the first US state that it plans to launch its sports betting operation.
In addition to this, both FanDuel and DraftKings were very visible in their efforts to push the public vote for mobile sports betting in 2020. Plus, other US sportsbooks, such as Barstool and PointsBet, are set to launch their online operations in Maryland.
For a long time, it looked as though the newly christened Washington Commanders would be able to open its own retail and online sportsbook. But with rumors that the Commanders are set for a controversial move to Virginia, such plans may have fallen by the wayside.
However, once the necessary measures are in place, online sports betting in Maryland is expected to be big. This is because there are no less than 60 mobile wagering licenses up for grabs, with the potential for more being added when the review of the gambling bill takes place in 2025.
While the relatively small size of the state is unlikely to make Maryland one of the sport betting heavyweights in the US, it will at least allow sports fans to enjoy the same kinds of privileges as what’s available over the state borders in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. So while the arrival of online sports betting in Maryland is still frustratingly close, it’s only a short matter of time before it becomes a reality.