Sunday, June 4, 2023

Maryland Gov. Hogan urges SWARC to have online sports betting launched by start of NFL regular season | Yogonet International

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan called on a state committee to have mobile sports wagering in place by the start of the NFL regular season in September, blaming what he called “endless bureaucratic roadblocks”. In a letter to the Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission (SWARC), Hogan said Marylanders have grown frustrated seeing mobile betting launches in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., but not in their state. 

“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. 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,” he wrote.

Ahead of SWARC’s next meeting on Thursday, Hogan called on the committee to prioritize mobile betting licenses and establish a “firm and transparent timeline” for residents to follow. He also called on the panel to release drafts of the application for a mobile sports wagering license and regulations. 

Even though sports betting has been legal in Maryland for more than half a year now, with retail sportsbooks having opened in the state’s main casinos since December 2021, the online sports betting market has not yet been launched, and the date for its debut is still unclear. 

John Martin, Director of the MLGCA.

Back in November, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) Director John Martin stated that online sports betting would not go live until, at least, fall 2022. State legislators passed enabling laws in 2021 to support the will of state voters. 

In April 2022, SWARC provided an update on the road to mobile wagering launching. When asked for an update on the state’s disparity survey -the last major hurdle before legal mobile betting arrives at the Old Line State-, Dave Stamper, the assistant attorney general, said there was none. 

A timeline for launch is dependent upon the completion of this survey. The legislation that legalized sports betting in Maryland features a mandate that calls for women- and minority-owned businesses to participate in the market, and the SWARC has tasked law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister with completing a survey that highlights any barriers to entry these groups may face.

While MLGCA’s Martin has said he hopes mobile wagering will launch as soon as possible, with the hope that it will be available sometime during the upcoming football season, some sources indicate this could happen in late 2022, or even early 2023, contrary to Hogan’s wishes. The disparity survey may be completed by around August, which would be followed by a licensing and testing process that may also take months to complete. Maryland may potentially miss out on the majority of the football season.

Governor Larry Hogan signed sports betting into law in May 2021. Almost a year later, in April 2022, retail sports betting handle in the state was $26.9 million, making $2.8 million on a 10.5% hold. Maryland retail sportsbooks handled $23.1 million that month, with FanDuel Sportsbook at Live! Casino taking $10.9 million of the wagers. 

Sportsbook opening at Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.

The Maryland sports betting law could potentially create one of the most competitive environments in the United States. Legislators approved a structure with two types of licenses, Class A and Class B, which are reserved for different sorts of businesses. Holders of both types of licenses can apply for one of the 60 mobile wagering licenses. The state will later revisit whether it needs to add more licenses in December 2025. 

With 60 potential mobile licenses on the table, many popular sports betting brands could enter the market, such as Barstool Sportsbook, as its parent company Penn National acquired a casino in the state in late 2020. 

DraftKings and FanDuel both provided financial backing efforts supporting voter passage of MD sports betting two years ago, and PointsBet found a partner in the Riverboat on the Potomac. 


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