After an extended period of delays and detours, Maryland has opened the application process for online sports betting. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission announced that businesses have 45 days to submit applications.
“We know sports fans are excited about mobile betting, and we know it will increase their contribution to education funding, so we’re excited too.”
The delay in the application process means mobile/online betting won’t launch in time for the start of the NFL season. There is still hope to continue before the 2022 closure, with the Sports Betting Application Review Commission (‘SWARC’) opening the door for up to 60 mobile licences, and 30 Class B facility licences.
How long does the application process take?
Businesses and individuals have until October 21 to submit applications and non-refundable application fees to pursue a license. Applicants are also required to submit all materials to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Licensing System for a background check and investigation within 30 days of submitting their application to SWARC.
After the application window closes, SWARC has 45 days to review applications and complete background checks before awarding applications, meaning a pre-2023 start is optimistic but unlikely.
Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin commented: “We know sports fans are excited about mobile betting, and we know it will increase their contribution to education funding, so we’re excited too. We have been doing everything we can to have it launched before the end of the year, and now we have a great opportunity to make it happen.
Martin’s optimism is that the process could be expedited because retail operators have already completed background checks, allowing them to open books earlier in the year.
What caused the delay?
The delay in starting the application process is because SWARC’s legislative mandate is to ensure there is a ‘diversified industry in the state’. It concluded that it “cannot apply any racial and/or gender-sensitive criteria in the evaluation of applicants.” The criteria applied instead required applicants to demonstrate 5% ownership by individuals with a net worth of less than US$1.85m and each applicant to submit a SWARC Diversity Plan in addition to the background information required by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Licensing System.