Sports fans got some clarity on the timing of the online Maryland sports betting launch as a result of Wednesday’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission meeting.
SWARC will meet on Nov. 21 to consider recommendations from the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission on what appears to be ten sports wagering operator applicants and 10 Maryland sports app license applications, which are paired, and one Class B retail applicant.
The Lottery & Gaming Commission meets in what promises to be a marathon session on Oct. 27 for hearings on the qualifications for a total of 21 applications.
What Happens in the Review Process?
Once the Lottery & Gaming Control Commission finds applicants qualified, that information will be forwarded to SWARC for consideration at the newly scheduled November 21 meeting. SWARC was initially scheduled to meet on Nov. 16, but the date was pushed back.
Assuming SWARC approval of applications on Nov. 21, the license awardees then return to Lottery & Gaming for final phase approvals, including controlled demonstrations of operations and procedures, a process that might take two days or so for each. Once Lottery & Gaming issues licenses, operators can begin taking wagers.
In theory, the first online launches could be just before or after Thanksgiving, but that would be extremely fast. Early- or mid-December seems more certain.
And major operators would appear best suited or best aligned to launch early. So, for instance, it won’t be long until you can come to this site for a FanDuel Maryland promo code.
Chairman Notes ‘Milestone Date’
“So, Oct. 27 is a milestone date,” SWARC chairman Tom Brandt said of the upcoming Lottery & Gaming Control Commission meeting next week.
Then, of the SWARC, he noted, “All eyes will be upon us for getting (online) sports wagering going in the state of Maryland. And then we become the gating step in the process.”
Brandt noted that some applicant material had arrived early (although the application window runs through Oct. 21). Still, the attorneys and consultants assisting SWARC will need time to review application materials in November and summarize it for the SWARC members. The commissioners also must digest that information.
Randy Mariner, who sits on the SWARC and chairs the Lottery & Gaming Control Commission, wondered whether SWARC should keep Nov. 16 open if fewer than ten applications are ripe for approval by then. Still, that idea was shelved lest it appears that some applicants were being given some advantage.
The Nov. 21 SWARC meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 pm., as a hybrid meeting, Zoom and in-person, at Lottery headquarters at the Montgomery Park business center in Baltimore.
At today’s SWARC meeting, the commission was also briefed on public comments regarding online and competitive facility sports wagering license regulations.
Among public comments received during the 30-day comment period were some on refunding application fees and others regarding furthering diversity in the licensing process. Still, the Lottery & Gaming staff made no recommendations to change regulations substantively. There was one non-substantive change.
And, not surprisingly, there were a handful of comments expressing frustration that it has taken so long to launch online sports gambling in Maryland.
This article was originally published on BetMaryland.com and is republished with permission.