Mobile Sports Betting On Long-Term Hold In Maryland

Written By Pat Evans on February 24, 2022
Maryland sports betting

As regulators approve more retail sportsbook licenses in Maryland, mobile sports betting is still stuck in a slog of bureaucracy.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission approved another retail MD sports betting license Thursday. That approval came following the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission taking no action at its monthly meeting last week.

Retail sports betting in Maryland started in December. Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency Director John Martin said sports betting will not start until later this year.

Maryland mobile on hold

The SWARC is tasked with establishing the MD sports betting licensing standards and awarding the 30 retail and 60 mobile licenses up for competitive bid.

Last week, Assistant Attorney General David Stamper told the SWARC there are some “minor details to work out” but expects to finalize a contract for a new disparity analysis soon. The study will determine if the SWARC needs to make a special effort to include minority- and women-owned businesses into the industry.

MD sports betting legislation requires the inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses. SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt said the commission cannot finish establishing guidelines and standards for the competitive licenses until the commission receives the analysis.

New MD retail sportsbooks coming

The MLGCC approved the sports wagering facility license for Bingo World, one of 17 named entities in MD sports betting legislation. It now heads to the SWARC for approval.

Bingo World joins three other retail facilities making their way through the regulatory process to open. Those three are working through final approvals to open:

  • Greenmount Station
  • Long Shot’s 
  • Riverboat on the Potomac

The commission also approved Rush Street Interactive as a sports wagering facility operator for Bingo World.

Maryland retail sports betting grows

Live! Casino has established itself as one of the largest retail sportsbooks in the country in just two months. The FanDuel Sportsbook at Live! took $14.4 million in bets during January, likely putting it among the top five retail books in US sports betting.

The five active retail sportsbooks in Maryland handled a total of $32.5 million in January, a nearly 97% jump from December’s $16.5 million total. In January, the sportsbooks held 13.4%, generating $4.4 million in revenue.

While retail grows in Maryland, mobile sports betting should help sports betting handle jump significantly. Louisiana sports betting expanded to include mobile in January and in four days, the mobile sportsbooks took nearly as much in bets as the entire month of retail sportsbooks.

Spreading Maryland sports betting information

Taft Stettinius & Hollister Attorney Kimberly Copp provided the SWARC with an update on an informational survey released last month. The survey went to 49 US sports betting companies, looking for input on how to best launch mobile sports betting.

That survey was due Friday.

Copp also said the Office of Minority Business Enterprise and Maryland Restaurant Association are working to disseminate informational material on sports betting. Additionally, Spectrum Gaming Group will likely host an educational event for businesses interested in sports betting, according to Copp.

SWARC website launch

MLGCA Chief Operating Officer Jim Nielsen demonstrated a new SWARC website that aims to help provide Maryland businesses interested in sports betting with information.

SWARC.org includes an email list signup, pertinent links, frequently asked questions and a map of approved licensees. The website went live last week.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-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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