Gov. Larry Hogan frustrated with Maryland's online sports betting delay
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) seems to be as fed up with the wait for Maryland online sports betting as the rest of the state.
In a scathing letter sent to Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) Chairman Andrew Brandt and the members of SWARC, Hogan urged the commission to “immediately accelerate and intensify” its efforts to launch Maryland online sports betting before Sept. 8, 2022, the start of the NFL regular season.
Launch Maryland online sports betting by Sept. 8
Hogan signed Maryland’s sports betting bill into law in May 2021. Maryland online sports betting still has no definitive process to license online sports betting operators. Maryland voters approved the bill in November 2020 and the rollout to online sports betting has been the longest of any state to legalize sports betting.
“While much work is ostensibly ‘in progress,’ SWARC has still not defined a clear pathway or timeline for mobile sports wagering implementation – it is simply inexcusable for that to be the case more than a year after the bill was signed into law,” Hogan wrote.
Hogan criticized the members of SWARC for allowing “the process to stagnate and become mired in overly bureaucratic procedures that have needlessly delayed the state’s ability to maximize the revenue potential of this emerging industry.”
Maryland is losing millions of dollars in sports betting tax revenue through the delay, he said.
Just last week, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency John Martin told Saturday Tradition his agency was waiting for SWARC to pass and review an industry analysis that would create a pathway for licensing online operators. When asked when the analysis would be completed, Martin said SWARC would not have analysis completed for several months.
Martin said he hoped the state would launch online sports betting sometime in the upcoming football season.
License already qualified operators
In order to accelerate the process, Hogan called on SWARC to prioritize online sports betting licensing for 17 entities found to be qualified by Maryland Lottery and Gaming in the state’s original sports betting bill.
These are the 17 eligible entities named in HB 940 Hogan referenced:
- Horseshoe Casino
- Live! Casino
- Hollywood Casino
- Ocean Downs Casino
- Rocky Gap Casino Resort
Professional Sports Stadiums
- Oriole Park
- M&T Bank Field
- FedEx Field
- Laurel Park and Pimlico Park
- Greenmount Station
- The Jockey Bar and Grille
- Long Shot’s
- Riverboat on the Potomac
- Maryland State Fairgrounds
Commercial Bingo Halls (with at least 200 machines)
- Bingo World
- Rod ‘N’ Reel
Additional actions also necessary
In addition to licensing the 17 pre-qualified entities, Hogan called on SWARC to immediately enact the following to accelerate the online sports betting launch:
- Set a firm and transparent timeline for online sports betting at Thursday morning’s meeting.
- Release drafts of the online sports betting wagering application and accompanying regulations to allow industry representative time to prepare comments, materials and responses.
- Apply the same approach to online sports betting licenses SWARC used to expedite retail licenses last fall.
- Approve online sports betting licenses on a rolling, first come, first served basis.
Maryland online sports betting will likely contribute roughly $30 million to the state in sports betting tax revenues annually, however the ongoing delay is costing the state millions every month it is not launch, Hogan noted.
“The ongoing delay is preventing Maryland from fully and properly tapping into this market,” he wrote.