First Maryland online sports betting licenses likely awarded on November 21
Maryland online sports betting’s launch timeline is becoming more clear by the day.
Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) Chairman Thomas Brandt revealed this morning that the commission will begin discussing qualified sports betting applicants and potentially award online sports betting licenses at its Nov. 21 meeting.
This sets Maryland’s online sports betting launch during late November, early December, after operators have their internal controls approved by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA).
Maryland online sports betting timeline set
A date to award licenses was the final piece of the puzzle for Maryland’s online sports betting timeline. Online sports betting applications are due into SWARC by Friday, Oct. 21, and the MLGCA will hold a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 27, to determine which applicants are qualified for a license.
According to Brandt, SWARC has received 10 online sports betting license applications so far. Caesars Sportsbook is confirmed as an applicant, as the sports betting company issued a press release earlier in the month on its application and touted its diverse ownership stake.
“This is a true hometown application. We’re very pleased to have structured our application in a way that not only reflects our corporate mission to promote diversity, equity and inclusion but is consistent with the spirit of Maryland sports betting legislation, which seeks to create business ownership opportunities that otherwise might not exist,” said Caesars Digital President Eric Hession in a release.
The commission is expecting more online sports betting applications to be submitted before Friday’s deadline. Kimberly Copp, an attorney with Taft Stettinius & Hollister, told the commission she’s expecting at least a handful of additional applications.
“We expect a few more to come in, based on discussions I’ve had with representatives in the industry,” she said.
Regulatory approvals and testing still needed
After the MLGCA identifies qualified operators, SWARC will have up to 45 days to consider applications and potentially find them qualified for a license. SWARC will not take the full 45 days, as Nov. 21 is only 31 days after MLGCA’s upcoming meeting.
Once licenses are awarded by SWARC, operators must then complete regulatory testing requirements and a successful controlled demonstration for Maryland Lottery and Gaming before they can receive the license and launch online sports betting in the state.
Brandt previously said the rolling approvals of licenses can only happen if the commission receives less than 60 online sports betting applications. Based on early numbers, it does not seem like the state will get close to 60 online sports betting applications.
By allowing a staggered launch, the state will not have to wait for the full complement of sportsbook applicants to be approved before launching sports betting.
This will likely allow SWARC to quickly approve licenses for sportsbooks such as Barstool, FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, and PointsBet, as they’ve already been vetted by the commission and Maryland Lottery and Gaming for their retail sports betting services.