BALTIMORE — As the holiday season approaches, there may be an early gift for Maryland sports fans: Pending the awards of licenses on Wednesday by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), the eagerly awaited launch of mobile sports wagering in Maryland may take place in time for Thanksgiving.
SWARC announced today that it will hold a license award meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16, during which it will consider awarding licenses to 10 mobile sports wagering entities:
· Arundel Amusements (Bingo World)
· BetMGM Maryland Sports LLC
· Crown MD Online Gaming LLC (DraftKings)
· CZR Maryland Mobile Opportunity LLC (Horseshoe Casino Baltimore)
· Greenmount OTB LLC
· Long Shot’s LLC
· Maryland Stadium Sub LLC (Washington Commanders)
· PENN Maryland OSB LLC (Hollywood Casino Perryville)
· PPE Maryland Mobile LLC (Live! Casino and Hotel)
· Riverboat on the Potomac
Businesses that are awarded licenses by SWARC on Wednesday will not be permitted to immediately begin taking wagers. Each business is working with Maryland Lottery and Gaming staff to complete operational requirements.
After SWARC has awarded licenses, Maryland Lottery and Gaming will identify an initial start date. No launches will occur before that date. Businesses that have been awarded licenses by SWARC and have completed all operational tasks by the initial start date will be given clearance to launch on that date.
Businesses that have been awarded licenses by SWARC but are not prepared to launch by the initial start date will be permitted to do so as soon as they have completed all operational requirements.
“Our staff has been in continuous contact with these mobile sports wagering businesses, and has already guided them through many of the necessary steps,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. “The last hurdle is for them to have controlled demonstrations, and SWARC’s awards of licenses on Wednesday would clear the way for that to happen.”
Before sportsbooks are permitted to launch, they must successfully complete controlled demonstrations of their systems and procedures, which involves accepting wagers at specific dates and times approved by Maryland Lottery and Gaming. A controlled demonstration is the final step before a launch. No business is permitted to launch before being awarded a license by SWARC and successfully completing its controlled demonstration.
SWARC is authorized to conduct a competitive process to award up to 60 mobile licenses and up to 30 Class B facility licenses. A 45-day application period ended on October 21, 2022. SWARC received 21 mobile license applications and six Class B facility license applications.
Maryland Lottery and Gaming performs background investigations of applicants to determine if they demonstrate the integrity and financial stability to be qualified for a sports wagering license. SWARC evaluates the suitability of applicants, reviews their business and marketing plans, and determines whether awarding a license to an applicant is in the public interest. An applicant must be found qualified via Maryland Lottery and Gaming investigation before SWARC is permitted to award the applicant a license.
On a rolling basis, there will be additional Maryland Lottery and Gaming qualification hearings, followed by SWARC license award meetings. The dates of these meetings have not yet been determined, but will be announced as Maryland Lottery and Gaming and SWARC are prepared to conduct them.
About Maryland Lottery and Gaming
Maryland Lottery and Gaming operates the Maryland Lottery and is responsible for regulatory oversight of the state’s casinos and sports wagering program. To keep Marylanders informed and promote integrity and transparency, Maryland Lottery and Gaming posts monthly financial reports on casino and sports wagering revenue at mdgaming.com, along with annual fiscal year data. For more information on all Lottery products, promotions and news, visit mdlottery.com. Maryland Lottery and Gaming reminds players to play responsibly and within their budget; resources are available at mdgamblinghelp.org or by calling 1-800-GAMBLER.
Governor Larry Hogan today issued the following statement after the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency announced that the launch of mobile sports wagering in Maryland may take place in time for Thanksgiving:
“Today we are proud to report that sports fans can finally plan for the official launch of mobile sports betting in the State of Maryland.
“To reach this point, we have had to overcome countless legal, political, and bureaucratic delays that threatened to push back the launch past the Super Bowl next year. It was completely unacceptable to me, and we spent months pressing for decisive action. Thanks to those efforts, and after repeated interventions by our administration, we now anticipate the launch of mobile sports betting this month, and we are cautiously optimistic that it will be in time for Thanksgiving.
“I want to thank everyone at the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency for their work to help us accelerate the process, and we look forward to a successful launch very soon.”