Maryland Online Sports Betting Delay to Linger Into NFL, College Football Seasons
Maryland online sports betting won’t likely begin in time for the kickoff of the 2022-23 NFL and college football seasons. That’s the latest from the state agency handling the application and licensing process regarding mobile sportsbooks.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) signed sports betting into law a year ago this month. But 12 months later, operations remain limited to in-person betting inside casinos.
Maryland’s sports betting law is one of the more comprehensive in the nation. State lawmakers sought to provide equity through the gaming expansion. But state officials say the minority component that requires a certain number of online licenses be given to such entities is slowing the licensing process.
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) must adhere to the state’s minority stipulations. And while the state’s six commercial casinos already meet numerous minority hiring conditions, SWARC is holding off on issuing the gaming venues online sportsbook privileges to prevent them from having a competitive advantage in establishing their customer bases with limited competition.
Maryland sports betting licenses for online/mobile will cost each casino $3 million. But small, minority-owned businesses with less than 25 employees and $3 million in annual revenue will be allowed to venture into the gaming space for just $50,000.
Such small businesses will partner with a third-party operator like DraftKings or BetMGM to offer online sports betting. The partnered sportsbook provider will be on the hook for a $500,000 state licensing fee.
SWARC says it has received dozens of mobile sports betting applications from minority-owned small businesses. But many of the interested companies lack the understanding of how gaming works, and that’s greatly delaying the first legal sports bet being facilitated over the internet.
To help better explain the forthcoming gaming space, SWARC will hold an educational meeting on Friday, May 6, at the Montgomery Park Business Center Auditorium in Baltimore. SWARC officials say the summit will be an “informative meeting that will provide an understanding of opportunities in sports betting for Maryland small businesses, retailers, investors, and other stakeholders.”
The meeting will explain the operating and regulatory costs of being involved in the state gaming industry. The event will also discuss the state’s legal and licensing process for applicants, and what they can do to better their odds of obtaining an operating permit.
The MLB regular season is already underway, but the lowly Baltimore Orioles aren’t expected to be contenders this year. Maryland sports fans are much more obsessed with their NFL Baltimore Ravens and Washington Commanders — the latter team playing its home games at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
The NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday, September 8. The full 2022-23 regular season schedule will be released a week from today on May 12.
Caesars Sportsbook has the Ravens at 22/1 to win Super Bowl LVII. The Commanders are a distant 75/1.
The Buffalo Bills are the Super Bowl front-runners at +675 (27/4). A $100 bet and the Bills winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy would net $675.
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