Maryland Regulators Give Online Sports Betting Update After Larry Hogan’s Demands
Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Maryland regulators provided a long-awaited update on online sports betting on Thursday, though it wasn’t as thorough as some had hoped.
In response to Gov. Larry Hogan’s demands that online betting start by September, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission defended its sluggish rollout and discussed a tentative date for applications during its Thursday meeting.
“I understand that many are frustrated that the process relating to the issuance of Maryland mobile sports wagering licenses has been time-consuming,” SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt said. “I also want everyone to know that SWARC and its support team have been operating as diligently and deliberately as we can under the Maryland sports wagering law that we’re tasked to administer.”
Earlier this week Hogan sent SWARC a letter urging it to expedite the road to online sports betting, which Maryland voters approved over 17 months ago, the longest it’s taken any state to implement.
Still No Launch Date
The commission did not give a launch date, as Hogan requested and instead said that the first online applications should be available “sometime in the summer.”
That’s contingent, however, on SWARC and the state Attorney General’s Office completing a disparity study. The analysis is supposed to identify opportunities for businesses owned by women and people of color, but has stalled the rollout.
The first rules and regulations, which the Maryland Lottery has been anxiously waiting to publish, will be discussed and possibly voted on during a meeting later this month.
Those regulations are “about 95% done,” said Jim Nielsen, deputy director and chief operating officer at the Maryland Lottery.
In the meantime SWARC will review initial drafts for online applications.
Investigations Process to Start for Small Businesses
Nielsen added that the Maryland Lottery will launch its “eLicensing platform” on Friday, allowing prospective “Class-B “applicants to start the background investigation and paperwork process.
The majority of Class-B licenses are set aside for small businesses like bars and restaurants.
“The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s investigations and the SWARC’s application process may not have the same starting point, but it’s always been the plan for them to unfold on parallel tracks,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin in a press release. “Some investigations could take several months, so now is a great opportunity for all potential applicants to get the ball rolling.”
The next SWARC meeting is tentatively planned for June 29 at 9 a.m. ET.