It was always a longshot, but Maryland sports betting will not be launched in time for the NFL’s week 1 season on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Maryland’s sports betting efforts are still underway as the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) and Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) are working towards the issuance of in-person sports betting licenses.

However, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said in a recent interview with Maryland Matters it would be impossible for sports betting to begin by the start of the NFL season.

“They said it’s just impossible to get it done by the start of football season. 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 said in the interview.

Maryland online sports betting not imminent

SWARC held its first committee meeting earlier this week to bring its members up to speed on the current Maryland sports betting efforts. The role of SWARC will be to establish the license application process, award all sports wagering licenses, establish special considerations for Class B and online sports betting licenses and ensure the allocation of licenses are spread equitably across the state.

The first round of licenses will be awarded to entities originally included in the approved sports betting bill. However, these are for brick-and-mortar licenses, as the timeline for the opening of the online sports betting license application process has not yet been determined, an MLGCA spokesperson told Saturday Tradition.

In an FAQ section on the MLGCA website, the agency said the issuance of licenses (including online licenses) for entities not listed in the original sports bill may take between 12 to 24 months:

“Some of the entities named in the Sports Wagering Law may have their brick-and-mortar sports wagering operations up and running during the fall of 2021. For a business that is not named in the Sports Wagering Law, the review by SWARC and a licensing background investigation could take between 12 and 24 months from May 2021.”

The application process for online sports betting licenses will be competitive, the MLGCA spokesperson told Saturday Tradition, and without a set application procedure from SWARC it’s hard to set a timeline on when licenses will be awarded. The 12-to-24 month estimate could be accelerated in the future when the application procedure is determined, the spokesperson noted.

Maryland in-person sports betting by the fall

With the soon to be issued brick-and-mortar sports betting licenses, in-person sports betting can likely begin sometime in the late fall or the early winter. However, the state’s sports betting rules still must be published in the Maryland register after being approved by the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Commission. After which, a 30-day public comment period will open.

Here are the 17 entities listed in the Maryland sports betting bill:

Casino Licenses

  • Horseshoe Casino (A-1 License)
  • Live! Casino (A-1 License)
  • MGM (A-1 License)
  • Hollywood Casino (A-2 License)
  • Ocean Downs Casino (A-2 License)
  • Rocky Gap Casino Resort (A-2 License)

Professional Sports Stadium Licenses

  • Oriole Park (A-1 License)
  • M&T Bank Field (A-1 License)
  • FedEx Field (A-1 License)

Racetrack Licenses

  • Laurel Park and Pimlico Park  (One A-2 License between them)

OTB Locations

  • Greenmount Station (B License)
  • The Jockey Bar and Grille (B License)
  • Long Shot’s (B License)
  • Riverboat on the Potomac (B License)
  • Maryland State Fairgrounds (B License)

Commercial Bingo Halls (with at least 200 machines)

  • Bingo World
  • Rod ‘N’ Reel

The state will allow 60 mobile sports betting licenses in its program. It qualifies remaining licenses into two classes; A licenses and B licenses. A license will be the state’s larger casinos, horse racetracks and professional sports teams and each license class with have two separate tiers.

A Class A-1 license includes the three largest casinos in the state, the state’s three professional sports organizations and the jockey club. The Class A-2 licenses will include the state casinos with fewer than 1,000 slot machines; the Class B-1 licenses will include organizations with more than 25 employees and the class B-2 license will include organizations with fewer than 25 employees and less than $3 million in gross receipts.

A Class A-1 license will cost $2 million to acquire and $500,000 in renewals; A Class A-2 license will cost $1 million to acquire and $300,000 to renew; A class B-1 license will cost $250,000 to acquire and $50,000 to renew; A class B-2 license will cost $50,000 and $10,000 in renewals. An application fee for an online sports betting license is $500,000.