The upcoming Maryland online sports betting market is beginning to take shape with a first batch of operators seeking to apply for licenses in the Old Line State. The list features 10 online sportsbooks, including some of the nation’s biggest brands.
According to the agenda for this week’s meeting of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC), the first applicants are:
The online sports betting operator licenses sought by those 10 brands would allow the companies to take wagers on behalf of a mobile sports betting licensee. A total of nine mobile license applications will be before the commission at this week’s meeting, to be held Thursday.
These mobile license applications include entities tied to online gaming brands such as BetMGM and DraftKings, but also retail gaming venues such as the Riverboat on the Potomac or bingo hall Bingo World. Other land-based properties including stadiums such as the FedEx Field in Landover, home of the Washington Commanders, are also part of this group.
The meeting will initially determine if the 10 online and nine mobile applicants meet the qualification standards to hold a permit. Mobile applications found suitable are then passed to Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), which is set to determine on November 21 whether to issue the licenses. Online operators do not require SWARC’s green light to move forward.
If SWARC decides to award a license, a final review by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency must then take place before mobile applicants are issued their wagering permits by the regulator. Online sports gambling would then finally launch in the state, nearly two years after Maryland voters legalized the gaming expansion via the ballot.
Maryland’s delay is the longest of any state to launch since the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for individual states to introduce sports betting legislation. Officials are currently targeting a market launch date of late November or early December.
Given many of the first operators applying for licenses already have some sort of retail presence in the state, the process may be expedited. The 2020 ballot measure opens the door for up to 60 online sportsbook licenses, although it could potentially take years for that number of operators to apply.