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The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission officially opened mobile sports betting applications this week. The news came a few days after Maryland’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Legislative, and Executive Review approved the SWARC’s emergency sports betting regulations.
The SWARC had been waiting on the legislative committee to support the emergency regulations. Until the committee approved, the SWARC could not officially open mobile wagering applications.
Up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses are available in Maryland, and applicants have 45 days to submit their applications. The official deadline for applications is Oct. 21. After Oct. 21, the SWARC may take up to 45 days to review the applications. The Maryland Lottery will also be involved with final approval, conducting background checks, and ensuring each mobile entity is prepared to launch.
Given the timeline, mobile licenses could be awarded by the end of 2022. This could allow mobile sportsbooks to launch before the end of the 2022-23 NFL season, which wraps up with the Super Bowl on Feb. 12.
This week is a meeting for public comment on the emergency regulations at 11 a.m. at the Montgomery Park Business Center Auditorium in Baltimore. There’s a public comment form available for those unable to attend the session.
Public comments on the regulations will be accepted through Sept. 26, at which point they will be considered, and changes to the rules could be implemented. It would be surprising to see any major changes to the regulations, especially with the applications now open to the public.
The faster the process moves in the coming weeks, the better the chance of mobile sportsbooks launching in Maryland before the end of the NFL season. Maryland could leave more than $10 million worth of tax revenue on the table in the next six months with legal mobile sportsbooks sidelined.
The SWARC met last week, and the group approved the addition of a diversity plan requirement to the application process. Suppose the SWARC approves an entity for a sports betting license. In that case, it needs to send the SWARC a document with information related to its diversity measures within 30 days of being awarded its license. The plan will include details on the business’s plan to create diversity within its ownership, employees, investors, etc.
“Maryland Lottery and Gaming has been hard at work on background investigations,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said in a press release. “A number of businesses that are planning to apply for mobile licenses have already submitted information to get their investigations started, and our Licensing staff will continue guiding them through the qualification procedures. We’re focused on expediting our part of the process so mobile betting can start as soon as possible.”
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