Maryland Online Sports Betting May Launch During NFL Season

Maryland Online Sports Betting May Launch During NFL Season

Maryland guard Fatts Russell dribbling the ball up the court

Maryland guard Fatts Russell (4) in action during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in College Park, Md. Iowa won 110-87. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director says he is hopeful online sports betting launches during NFL season
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission is conducting analysis of opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses
Online sports betting application criteria cannot be created until the results of the analysis are complete

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for a potential Maryland online sports betting launch? The director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming believes there is.

John Martin, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director, told Sports Betting Dime today he is hopeful that Maryland’s long-awaited online sports betting launch could come sometime during the 2022 NFL season.

Maryland Online Sports Betting By Next NFL Season?

Maryland’s retail sports betting program has been live since December 2021, but what’s the holdup for online sports betting?

One answer is the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), which is responsible for approving and awarding all state retail and online sports betting licenses. Members of SWARC took nearly six months before approving the first five retail sports betting licenses, and online sports betting license approval is still months away.

Currently, SWARC is conducting an industry analysis to evaluate opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses who hope to be included in Maryland’s online sports betting market. Establishing a diverse and inclusive market is a key component of SWARC’s mandate, according to Maryland’s sports betting law.

The industry analysis, or “disparity study” as its referenced by SWARC, is expected to be completed by the summer, Martin said. Its findings will help guide SWARC’s online sports betting license application criteria and the process for awarding the licenses.

“We are hopeful that these steps can be completed in time for mobile sports wagering to launch during the 2022 football season,” Martin said. “Mobile wagering is essential for the sports wagering program to produce the level of revenue that the state is expecting, and moreover, we know it’s something sports fans are waiting for.”

SWARC held a meeting this morning, but the commission did not give an update on the disparity study’s progress. SWARC Member Randy Marriner asked for an update on the study near the end of the meeting, but another member declined, saying he would email him his reasoning after the session’s conclusion.

Nine Approved Maryland Sports Betting Facilities

There are currently five establishments in Maryland currently accepting retail sports bets, but nine facilities in total have been licensed by SWARC. Sports wagering operations launched at MGM National Harbor, Live! Casino, Horseshoe Casino, Hollywood Casino, and Ocean Downs Casino in December 2021.

SWARC has also approved three off-track betting venues; Riverboat on the Potomac, Long Shot’s, and Greenmount Station. All three are completing facility upgrades or operational requirements in preparation for their launch dates, which have not been determined.

Bingo World in Anne Arundel County was the most recent facility to be awarded a license. It was licensed in February to offer retail sports betting and was among the original 17 entities designated in the sports wagering law to conduct retail sports betting.

Rush Street Interactive will likely operate sports betting services for Bingo World when it launches.