Online sportsbooks will now be able to launch in Maryland as soon as they receive a full license, rather than waiting for a universal launch date. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The launch date is fast approaching
Online sports betting could become a reality in 2022 in Maryland after the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) gave the green light for the rolling approval of online licenses.
The unanimous decision on Thursday means that online sportsbooks will be able to go live as soon as they receive full licensing approval, rather than having to wait for a universal launch date.
launch by early December could be in the cards
Previously, the expectation was that sportsbooks in Maryland would not be up and running until next year, but this SWARC decision could result in a sooner-than-expected launch. Up until recently, the goal was to have sportsbooks operational by the Super Bowl in February, but now it looks like a launch by early December could be in the cards.
The application process
The SWARC recently began the online sports betting license application process. Any parties with an interest in getting a license need to submit their application by October 21. It will take up to 45 days for the SWARC to assess applications.
There are as many as 60 online sports betting licenses and 30 retail licenses up for grabs in Maryland.
If a party gains approval, it will then need to go through a testing period to make sure the sportsbook is fully compliant with the state’s regulations. Maryland Lottery and Gaming will also need to observe a successful demonstration before the platform will be able to go live.
A long time coming
Maryland residents have been waiting a long time for sportsbooks to launch. Voters gave their support to legalizing sports betting in November 2020 and legislation was signed into law in May 2021. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has expressed frustrations about the delay.
other locations are still awaiting approval for a retail license
Retail sportsbooks have already been in business since December. Currently, there are six such facilities operating at casinos. A couple of other locations are still awaiting approval for a retail license, including the Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field and at the Timonium Racetrack.
The operators who are already running retail sportsbooks hope that the online licensing process can be expedited, as they have already gone through a vetting process to get a retail license. Major sports betting operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, and Barstool are all expected to pursue online licenses.