Maryland Takes Steps to Speed Up Sports Betting Licensing Process
September 30, 2022
In the state of Maryland, the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) has been set up on a temporary basis. They have been charged with the task of receiving, reviewing, and approving sports betting operator applications. They began receiving applications on September 6, 2022 and will continue doing so until the final submission deadline of October 21, 2022.
The SWARC’s ultimate goal is to have mobile sports betting services available for residents by the beginning of 2023. That would ensure that football fans and sports bettors would be able to wager on the NCAA FB Championship Game and the Super Bowl.
Note: The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) is being charged with the responsibility of doing background checks on applicants. They ultimately will be serving as the state’s regulatory body, overseeing all online gambling activities.
Moving the Deadline Ahead
According to Jim Nielsen, deputy director and COO of the Maryland State Lottery Gaming and Control Agency, it’s very possible that the launch of sports betting in the state could be moved from the beginning of 2023 to the latter part of November or the early part of December this year as a worst-case scenario.
Keeping in mind that Maryland’s sports betting legislation authorized the letting of no more than 60 mobile sports betting licenses, he feels that it’s possible to use a “rolling approval process” to bring sports betting to Maryland residents ahead of schedule. That would be contingent on the SWARC receiving fewer than the 60 designated applications, along with the $500,000 application fees, right away.
A rolling approval process refers to a process by which applications could be approved one at a time as they are received. After a license is approved, the applicant/operator will immediately be permitted to go ahead and start taking sports wagers. That is counter to the processes put forth in other states where approved applications were or have been stockpiled with all applicants given a statutory launch date to start taking bets.
According to pre-established guidelines, the SWARC is to have 45 days after the submission period ends to approve all sports betting applications. The establishment of a rolling approval process will allow SWARC administrators to start the approval process as soon as applications are received. If the process does, in fact, take 45 days to complete, the state’s first mobile sports bets could be rolling through the internet by Thanksgiving.
What This Means for Maryland Sports Bettors
It’s worth noting that Maryland’s original sports betting legislation was passed in November 2020. That resulted in the opening of retail sports books by December 2021. As is the case in most states where both retail and mobile sports betting was or has been approved, the strong preference among sports bettors is the online/mobile option.
Since the SWARC and MLGCA have been given the approval to move forward with the rolling approval process, Maryland sports bettors are on alert that they could be betting on football and basketball sooner than they thought. Sooner rather than later is always better in the eyes of sports bettors.