Maryland Online Sports Betting Loosely Set for Super Bowl
Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Maryland regulators on Wednesday offered their firmest timeline for online sports betting yet.
But their "by the Super Bowl" start date isn't set in stone, members of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) cautioned at a monthly meeting.
“We can’t determine a specific timeline because there are many things that we don’t know,” said Jim Nielsen, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. "If applications can be issued within the next week or two, it is possible Marylanders could be able to bet on the Super Bowl on a mobile platform."
The SWARC plans to adopt proposed regulations for online operators by Aug. 26, which are subject to a 30-day comment period from stakeholders. It could take longer if changes are needed, said Thomas Brandt, who chairs the SWARC.
A body of lawmakers would then need to sign off, but even then the slow-moving Attorney General's Office could push back the proposed Super Bowl LVII start date in February 2023.
Still Waiting on a Study
Maryland's sports betting law – approved by voters in 2020 – charged the Attorney General's Office with conducting an analysis on industry opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses.
SWARC requested that study last September, and there's been radio silence on it since, despite public clamoring for sports betting and recent demands from Gov. Larry Hogan.
"We're going to have to call the ball sooner rather than later," Brandt said.
Today I called on the legislature’s Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission to take immediate actions to launch mobile sports betting in Maryland for the NFL season.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) June 15, 2022
But wait, there're more possible delays.
A larger-than-expected number of applications along with the complexity of an application could further delay the license awarding process, Nielsen added.
“There’s a lot behind the scenes that has to be proven and demonstrated FYI,” said Randy Marriner, chair of the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission.
Sportsbook at FedEx Field
What is set in stone: a sportsbook for the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field.
The commission unanimously approved in-person betting licenses for Maryland Stadium Sub LLC and Chesapeake Gaming LCC, an off-track betting facility in Boonsboro.
They'll join the five casinos that have been taking in-person bets since December 2021.
The only objection came from Brandt, who joked that his allegiance to the Baltimore Ravens made it a difficult vote.
The Ravens are also eligible for a sportsbook at M&T Bank Stadium and have already partnered with DraftKings. The Baltimore Orioles are eligible, as well.
Just before the meeting, the Orioles announced a partnership with SuperBook Sports to bring a "retail sports long" to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.