Maryland Sports Betting Will Miss Start Of NFL Season

Written By Pat Evans on August 16, 2021
Maryland sports betting

Maryland sports betting is still a work in progress trying to launch during the football season.

On Monday, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission held its first meeting. The commission is tasked with awarding sports betting licenses based on the rules laid out in state law.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission checks backgrounds and issues the licenses for sports betting in MD.

The rules still must be published in the Maryland Register, at which point a 30-day public comment period can begin. That process could start by the end of the month.

Delay for sports betting in Maryland?

In a recent interview with Maryland Matters, Gov. Larry Hogan said launching by the start of football season would be impossible. With less than a month to go until kickoff and a 30-day public comment period still to go for the rules, that makes sense:

“I pressed them pretty hard about making sure we get it done at least by the end of football season when all the betting takes place, really — in the playoffs and the Super Bowl,” Hogan told Maryland Matters.

During the legislative process, Sen. Craig Zucker told LSR he wanted sports betting to launch during the NFL betting season or by the World Series in October. Hogan signed the MD sports betting legislation into law in May 2021.

SWARC’s first day

The first SWARC meeting started with basic background on the commission’s duties and the landscape of wagering in Maryland.

In its one action Monday, SWARC voted against learning more information about the designated licensees and will send those on to the MLGCC.

The designated entities could have retail sportsbooks open sometime this fall, according to the MLGCC website. For non-named licensees, including for online licenses, the process could take up to 24 months from May 2021, according to the site.

Named MD sports betting licensees

Professional Sports Venues:

  • Oriole Park (MLB’s Baltimore Orioles)
  • FedEx Field (NFL’s Washington Football Team)
  • M&T Stadium (NFL’s Baltimore Ravens)


  • MGM
  • Live! Casino
  • Horseshoe Casino
  • Ocean Downs Casino
  • Hollywood Casino
  • Rocky Gap Casino Resort

Horse Racing and OTBs:

  • Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course
  • Maryland State Fairgrounds
  • Rosecroft Raceway
  • Fair Hill Races
  • Long Shots
  • Riverboat on the Potomac
  • Greenmount Station
  • Jockey Bar and Grille

Commercial Bingo Halls (with more than 200 machines, necessary for designated license):

  • Bingo World
  • Rod ’N’ Reel

SWARC sports betting mission

Beyond those licenses, SWARC can award up to 30 Class B licenses and up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses. First, the committee is tasked with creating a scoring system to award competitive licenses.

One of SWARC’s main objectives will be to maintain exclusion zones, including a 1.5-mile radius around Class A or B licensees and 15 miles around Hollywood Casino, Ocean Downs Casino and Rocky Gap Casino.

The committee must also “actively seek to achieve racial, ethnic and gender diversity when awarding licenses.” The committee’s next meeting will likely be the week of Sept. 20.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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