ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Governor Larry Hogan today released a letter calling on the legislature’s Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission—also known as SWARC—to take immediate actions to launch mobile sports betting in the State of Maryland, noting the significant public outcry in response to a series of needless bureaucratic delays.
“Instead of decisive action to implement the voters’ decision, you have allowed the process to stagnate and become mired in overly bureaucratic procedures that have needlessly delayed the state’s ability to maximize the revenue potential of this emerging industry,” wrote Governor Hogan. “Sports fans in Maryland simply want to be able to place bets on their mobile devices—that’s what they voted for, and they are angry and discouraged over SWARC’s inability to make it happen. … Our state and its citizens deserve clear and definitive action from SWARC and a legal, transparent framework to place mobile bets—not endless bureaucratic roadblocks that continue to hold back progress.”
Ahead of the legislative commission’s next meeting tomorrow, the governor outlines several definitive actions it can take to get mobile sports betting up and running:
–Prioritizing the awarding of mobile licenses for any of the retail entities named in the original mobile betting legislation that have already been found qualified by Maryland Lottery and Gaming and that choose to offer mobile wagering.
–Set a firm and transparent timeline for mobile sports wagering at its next meeting so those involved in the industry and Maryland residents can track progress.
–Release drafts of the mobile sports wagering application and accompanying regulations immediately after its next meeting so the industry can begin preparing comments, materials, and responses.
–Apply the same approach to mobile licenses that was used in expediting the facility license awards last fall. At that time, SWARC voted unanimously that Maryland Lottery and Gaming’s licensing qualification standards were sufficient to award licenses to any of the 17 retail entities that were designated in the sports wagering law. Six of these 17 entities are experienced gaming operators that are already licensed for mobile wagering in numerous other states.
–Expediting the named entities will make it possible to intensify efforts in guiding the small, minority- and women-owned enterprises through the application and qualification process so they can get up and running more quickly.
–Approve mobile sports wagering license applications on a rolling basis (first come, first served).
In the letter, the governor also commends the state’s Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency for its efforts to expedite mobile betting despite the bureaucratic obstacles, and calls on the SWARC to act with the same level of urgency.