Maryland’s lengthy process of licensing online sportsbooks and allowing wagers to commence via the internet is finally nearing the finish line.
More than two years since Maryland voters amended their state constitution to allow gambling on collegiate and professional sports through a ballot referendum, the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) says it’s ready to issue online sportsbook licenses. SWARC meets tomorrow morning in Baltimore where the state agency is expected to sign off on mobile sports gambling concessions for 10 applicants.
We had originally planned our next meeting to be Nov. 21, but we’ve been working with our consultants … to accelerate the pace and hold it earlier,” SWARC Chair Tom Brandt said in a release.
“Our focus for this meeting will be the mobile applicants who have been qualified by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC),” Brandt added. “Mobile wagering will account for the bulk of the revenue from sports wagering, and we’re eager to enable Maryland to enter that market.”
Marketing, Promotions Underway
The 10 applicants expected to be issued online sports betting privileges tomorrow are Arundel Amusements (Bingo World), BetMGM, DraftKings, Caesars Sportsbook, Greenmount OTB, Long Shot’s, Maryland Stadium Sub (Washington Commanders), Penn Entertainment (Hollywood Casino Perryville), Live! Casino and Hotel, and the Riverboat on the Potomac.
SWARC formally approving the applicants, however, does not allow the entity to immediately begin accepting internet sports bets. Instead, each platform deemed approved by SWARC will need to undergo a successful controlled demonstration of its operating systems and procedures monitored closely by the MLGCC.
If the MLGCC finds the applicant’s operations suitable for full licensure, the state gaming regulator will issue its final blessing and the book can open its business to the general public. The MLGCC has not said how long each testing period will run, but outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said it’s the state’s hope that online sports betting is fully operational in time for Thanksgiving.
“Information on the timing of controlled demonstrations and the earliest date when mobile sportsbooks will be permitted to launch will be forthcoming,” SWARC detailed.
Maryland’s sports betting law allows SWARC to issue up to 60 mobile licenses. The state agency says additional applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with the next batch planned for review during the commission’s Dec. 14 meeting.
Marketing, Promotions Underway
The major players in the national sports betting industry are already marketing their forthcoming operations and trying to entice customers to register with their platforms by way of promotional incentives. Television and radio commercial spots in Maryland are being flooded with online sportsbook firms that are expected to receive their operating licenses during SWARC’s meeting tomorrow.
Many operators have also launched their sports betting apps in Maryland, though no actual wagers can yet be facilitated through the platforms.
Caesars Sportsbook unveiled its iOS and Android app in Maryland today, with users receiving $100 in wagering credits with a qualifying $20 deposit. BetMGM is offering registrants $200 in site credit if they signup before SWARC issues online sports betting licenses.
FanDuel is offering $100 in credit with a user’s first bet of at least $1. DraftKings says anyone who pre-registers in Maryland will receive $200 once the sportsbook goes fully live in the state.
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