What Is The New Maryland Application Review Commission For Sports Betting?

Written By Derek Helling on June 30, 2021 - Last Updated on July 7, 2021
maryland application review commission

When any activity becomes regulated by a controlling jurisdiction like Maryland sports betting recently has, that always means new duties for officials. Sometimes, that takes the form of a new bureaucracy. That’s essentially the story behind the creation of the Maryland Application Review Commission for sports betting.

For future bettors in MD, it’s important to understand the commission’s role. This new body will determine not only where you can legally wager but also which operators you can place those bets with.

It’s all part of the process to ultimately answering yes to the question, “Is sports betting legal in Maryland?

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Nuts and Bolts of the Maryland Application Review Commission for Sports Betting

This Maryland Application Review Commission commission was born earlier this month when MD Gov. Larry Hogan signed HB 940 into law. Now, Section 9-1E-15 of the state code governs the particulars about the panel.

The section sets the primary duties of the commission as reviewing sports betting license applications and awarding those licenses to parties it deems worthy. It also requires the commission to adopt a set of regulations “governing the evaluation of applications.”

Additionally, the commission must evaluate an annual study to ensure minority-owned companies have access to the market. The law tasks the commission with deciding whether to give applicants with connections to such companies priority access to licenses as well.

The section also lays out how many members the commission consists of and how those positions are filled. While we don’t yet know much about the regulatory structure in MD, the membership of this commission is taking shape.

Who serves on the commission?

For starters, the chair of the MD Lottery & Gaming Control Commission or someone that person appoints fills one seat.

Currently, E. Randolph Marriner occupies that seat on the lottery commission. Marriner has yet to announce whether he will take on the new duties with the review commission himself or use his ability to assign a designee.

The other six seats are appointed by the governor, the speaker of the MD House of Delegates, and the president of the MD Senate. Each person appoints two members. So far, two of those have fulfilled their responsibilities. The governor also decides which member of the commission will serve as the chair.

MD House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson have made their appointments. Those new commission members are:

  • Rosie Allen-Herring, CEO of the United Way of the National Capital Area
  • Laura Gamble, regional president for PNC Bank
  • Cassandra Stevenson, head of corporate tax at Raymond James Financial
  • Frank Turner, a former member of the MD House of Delegates who sat on numerous gaming oversight bodies

There’s no word yet on when Hogan will make his appointments. There is good reason for him to be deliberate in his choices, though.

Seven of the most important people in Maryland

The statute bars from eligibility to serve on this commission anyone with an interest in any potential licensee. It also makes service on the commission unpaid, albeit with some room for expense reimbursement.

That’s important because the people on this commission will hold a great deal of power in terms of the developing market. They will collectively decide when to grant licenses and to whom.

For the sake of example, suppose the commission does give priority to applicants who have connections to minority-owned businesses. That could put applicants like the Riverboat on the Potomac and PointsBet Sportsbook on a path to earlier access.

The Riverboat on the Potomac has partnered with Delmock Entertainment, a certified minority-owned business, for its sports betting operations. Other possibilities include candidates for Class B1 and B2 licenses – think bars, small bingo halls, and restaurants – that have minority ownership getting priority access to licenses as well.

While the membership of the commission is filling, there are still many unknowns about its future decisions. In order for MD sportsbooks to go live in time for the next NFL season, those decisions need to come quickly.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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