The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) has set a rolling approval process for online sports betting applications. This process opens the door for Maryland online sportsbooks to go live before the end of the year.
Maryland sports betting has been legal since May 2021, but online sportsbooks have taken a slow process to go live. This new development would allow a staggered launch for sportsbooks instead of one simultaneous date for all operators to launch.
Maryland Online Sports Betting Incoming
During a meeting Thursday, September 22, SWARC unanimously approved the proposal. This is a big advancement for the commission as they have been criticized in the past for moving too slow by local operators as well as by Governor Larry Hogan. Even the commission themselves are aware that this progress is a major step forward.
“For this commission, the tire’s about to hit the road as far as us actually acting on applications,” said Thomas Brandt, SWARC Chairman.
With the commission now able to view and approve sportsbook applications on a rolling basis, the process will move more quickly as a result. SWARC has already begun accepting sports betting license applications from online operators. The deadline for applicants to submit is on October 21, 2022.
“We obviously can receive them sooner but I suspect we’ll get a significant chunk of them at 5 p.m. on the 21st if history is anything to repeat itself because that’s what we’ve seen in other jurisdictions,” said Kimberly Copp, SWARC Legal Council.
When Could Maryland Sportsbooks Go Live?
Once applications are taken in, SWARC will have 45 days to determine whether or not they will be approved or denied. Assuming the majority of the applications come in on the deadline, online sportsbooks that are approved could go live in December.
SWARC will be looking to approve 30 retail sportsbooks and up to 60 online sportsbooks in that time. Because of how many licenses are available, SWARC may not issue the maximum applications at one time. The rolling approval will allow the ones approved sooner to be able to launch while SWARC continues to review applications.
“If SWARC does not receive more applications than the licenses permitted, namely 30 facility and 60 mobile, it may be desirable and arguably beneficial for SWARC to award licenses to applicants on a rolling basis,” said Jim Nielsen, deputy director of the gaming and regulatory division of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
Maryland online sportsbooks are on pace to go live this year thanks to the recent approvals. Local Maryland betting fans can be optimistic about seeing sportsbooks in time for the NFL playoffs.