The first ten operator applicants for Maryland online sports betting licensure came out Tuesday, two days before their qualification hearing.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission will meet Thursday to push the applicants ahead with alternative licensing qualifications.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) meets Nov. 21, so a late 2022 launch is plausible, pending license awards and final regulatory approval.
MD sports betting applicants
Here’s a look at the ten sportsbook applicants, which were released on an updated commission meeting agenda:
- American Wagering (Caesars)
- Betfair (FanDuel)
- Crown MD Online Gaming (DraftKings)
- FBG Enterprises Opco (Fanatics)
- Parx Interactive Maryland
- Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool)
- RSI MD (BetRivers)
December launch would mean NFL betting
A December launch would allow Maryland to grow its online sports betting market toward the end of the NFL regular season.
That would give MD bettors a chance to make online wagers on both the February Super Bowl and March Madness/NCAA Tournament.
New York opened its online sports betting market in early January, right before the NFL playoffs, resulting in record numbers. Ohio will launch online sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
MD following similar path to retail
Similarly to how the MLGCC gave casinos alternative licensing standards prior to the retail MD sports betting launch in December 2021, they are ready to give the same priority to online sports betting licenses.
The operators are established gaming entities that are familiar to the state’s regulators or licensed in multiple other jurisdictions.
Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency Director John Martin previously told LSR that a similar approach was likely. Martin also said he was confident a launch would occur before Jan. 1.
SWARC pressure pays off
Marylanders will be thrilled to see a launch date is finally nearing after voters approved sports betting two years ago.
Gov. Larry Hogan applied pressure on the SWARC earlier this summer to expedite the process. Regulators eventually determined they could not apply specific requirements regarding minority and women ownership to license applications.
The commission then sent its draft regulations on to a legislative review commission and opened a 30-day comment period. SWARC also opened the application period for competitive licenses, including up to 30 retail and 60 mobile operators.