The state of Maryland may have just given the state’s bettors an early Christmas present on Thursday. Or maybe even a little extra to chew on during Thanksgiving dinner.
Officials at the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (MSWARC) said they are eyeing and not ruling out the launch of Maryland betting apps through the end of the year, perhaps as early as November.
Originally, MSWARC wanted all online sportsbooks in the state to launch together, which was problematic because it would have essentially forced all licensed sportsbooks to wait until all licenses were issued and all licensees had their logistics and equipment ready and running together .
But, somewhat surprisingly, MSWARC officials said they may be willing to drop the all-inclusive launch requirement and instead allow “rolling launches,” which allow online sportsbooks in Maryland to begin operations once they get their licenses received and have logistics/equipment elements operational so to speak.
That would mean bettors could start signing up for sports betting promos in Maryland by late Thanksgiving — or even earlier if there’s pre-registration. Or there could be further delays depending on how the next four weeks play out.
Timeline for sports betting in Maryland
MSWARC is giving prospective Maryland online sportsbook operators until October 21 to apply for licenses, followed by up to 45 days of review of each license application and required background investigations of the companies and many of their chief executives.
“Maryland Lottery and Gaming has been hard at work on background investigations,” John A. Martin, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said in a media release earlier this month. “A number of companies planning to apply for mobile licenses have already submitted information to begin their investigations and our licensing staff will continue to guide them through the qualification process.
“We are focused on expediting our part of the process so mobile betting can begin as soon as possible.”
Early applications are key in Maryland
If online license applications for sports betting that opened September 7 are received before the October 21 deadline, the review is completed earlier than 45 days, and the license is approved, the first betting apps in Maryland could theoretically be operational go mid to late November or early December.
At this point, could you see a BetMGM Maryland bonus code offer or be able to take advantage of a Caesars Sportsbook Maryland promo code? Possibly.
Unlike other states like Massachusetts, which limit permanently unaffiliated (not affiliated with an existing brick-and-mortar casino) online sportsbook to just seven companies, Maryland takes a very aggressive approach with space for up to 60 online sportsbooks. as well as personal retail betting sites.
Maryland has operated retail betting at seven brick-and-mortar locations as of last December — and could have as many as 47 retail sportsbook licenses long-term. This includes several existing companies that are also hoping to add Maryland online sportsbook to their betting offerings, including FanDuel Maryland, Barstool, BetRivers, PointsBet, BetMGM and Caesars.
Could the long wait be over?
But various regulatory/legal delays have delayed the launch of online sports betting apps.
Currently, Maryland bettors can legally bet online if they physically travel to nearby states that have legal online wagering, or they can place bets with illegal offshore online businesses. However, the latter are not always secure and put bettors’ investments at risk to the point where payouts may not occur.
The entire process of starting online sports betting took over 1.5 years, which caused great frustration for many in Maryland, including government officials like Gov. Larry Hogan and Jim Nielsen, Chief Operating Officer/Deputy Director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency
“We all know that the public wants sports betting,” Nielsen said on Thursday. “We get comments as to why it didn’t start every day.”
Always gamble responsibly. All licensed and legal operators in the United States make resources available to bettors, including guides to identifying gambling problems, links to support services, and self-exclusion tools for a set period of time. There is support at National Problem Gambling Council, 1-800 GAMBLER and American Addiction Centers. Make sure you only bet at gambling sites that are licensed and regulated by the gambling regulator in your state. This ensures that the games are fair, bets are honored, customers’ funds are safe and the consumer is legally protected.
Sports betting and gambling are not legal everywhere. Be sure to comply with the laws in force where you live.
This story was originally published September 23, 2022 11:00 am.