Maryland sports betting continued its slow chug toward mobile Wednesday.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission met to approve two informational action items and hear an update on a new disparity study for MD sports betting. The commission must receive the finished study before it can set the licensing rules for mobile sports betting in Maryland.
With that in limbo, SWARC has no timeline set for when the mobile licensing process might start.
Retail sports betting in the state began in December. Previously, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency Director John Martin said a mobile launch will not happen until at least late 2022.
Maryland sports betting disparity study
In September 2021, SWARC requested an additional disparity study to see if special efforts are needed to incorporate minority- and women-owned businesses into the sports betting industry. MD sports betting legislation requires the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses.
The state is in talks with the firm that performed the original analysis, Assistant Attorney General David Stamper told the commission. Stamper hopes to have a new contract finalized next week, which could also provide a better sense of timeline.
“Time is of the essence,” Randy Marriner, SWARC member and chair of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, said. “Anything we can do to turn the heat up would be advisable.”
MD sports betting informational surveys
Taft Stettinius & Hollister Attorney Kimberly Copp explained a survey will be sent to industry stakeholders to gather information on interest in the market. Copp said they will send the survey to 43 operators in the US sports betting industry. She also asked the commission to post the survey on the SWARC website.
The survey will gather information on multiple items, including if 60 mobile licenses is the right number. It will also ask how operators might like to work with minority- and women-owned businesses in the market.
“We can’t take action until the disparity study is finished,” SWARC Chair Thomas Brandt said. “This is a fruitful way to use the time to make our commission more informed.”
Taft Attorney Michael Schaller said the proposed casino project in the city of Chicago and New York sports betting used similar surveys.
Taft will also work to inform small businesses in Maryland about the sports betting opportunities. Copp said it is essentially a PowerPoint presentation with information on the vetting process and costs to participate.
“We’re using the time while waiting for the disparity analysis to do outreach to tell what the opportunities are so they’re also ready to apply when we’re ready to release applications,” Copp said.
The presentation will also direct interested parties to the MLGCA office and resources available.
MD sports betting underway
Retail sports betting in Maryland launched in December 2021. During the month, five casino sportsbooks handled $16 million wagers.
The sportsbooks held nearly 20%.
The MLGCC will hold its monthly meeting Thursday and hear reports from the state’s casinos. The next SWARC meeting is Feb. 16.