Maryland Regulators Award Online Sports Betting Licenses, Put … – Covers

After a few more regulatory boxes are checked, operators could be taking bets by next week, albeit two years after Maryland voters approved legal sports betting in a November 2020 referendum.
Mobile sports betting in Maryland could be underway before the end of November. 
Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) met Wednesday and approved the awarding of mobile sports wagering licenses to 10 companies, which will allow those entities to offer online sports betting sites in the Old Line State.
After a few more regulatory boxes are checked, operators could be taking bets by next week, albeit two years after Maryland voters approved legal sportsbooks in a November 2020 referendum. 
The SWARC had intended to meet on November 21 to consider awarding licenses but bumped up its meeting date to accelerate the launch of online sports betting.
“Mobile will account for the bulk of the revenue from sports wagering, and we’re eager to enable Maryland to enter that market,” SWARC Chair Tom Brandt said during Wednesday’s meeting.
Research firm Eilers & Krejcik has forecast that gross gaming revenue from mobile sports betting in Maryland will add up to around $123.3 million in the first year of wagering, before rising to $369.8 million in the second year and then $493.1 million in the third year. 
The 10 entities approved on Wednesday for mobile wagering can partner with a licensed operator to conduct that gambling, with 10 such operators already found qualified for a license. As an example, Bingo World was awarded a mobile sports betting license, but BetRivers will be the mobile sports betting operator for Bingo World. 
Operators do not need the SWARC to award their licenses. There will be a bit of overlap as well, as some mobile licensees intend to act as licensed operators in the state. That, presumably, would allow those companies to offer online sports betting on behalf of themselves and others. 
Here are the 10 companies awarded online sports betting licenses on Wednesday and the operators that will take wagers on their behalf:
The approval of the license awards puts Maryland on track to launch online sports betting in time for Thanksgiving, according to recent remarks by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. The regulator said earlier this week that, after the SWARC awards licenses, it would “identify an initial start date” for mobile wagering.
In-person sports betting has already begun at several brick-and-mortar gaming facilities in the state, but those entities had licenses specially set aside for them in Maryland’s sports-betting law. The SWARC was required to seek diversity in the state’s sports-betting industry and had to take certain steps before awarding mobile sports betting licenses, such as conducting a study of the sector.
Those steps, however, took time, and SWARC only released its applications for mobile sports betting licenses in early September. As of the filing deadline on October 21, the commission had received 21 applications for mobile licenses. The SWARC is hoping to award additional licenses at its meeting set for December 14, Brandt said on Wednesday.
Brandt said the language of the law that created SWARC was “challenging,” and that the commission had taken its aims seriously.
“So it’s taken us a while to get to this point,” the chair added.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission found 10 applicants qualified for online licenses on October 27 (as well as 10 mobile operators), which set the stage for the SWARC to award permits this week. 
The SWARC on Wednesday weighed the business experience, regulatory history, and responsible-gaming investments of applicants, among other things. The commission also looked to see if the applicant had ever sought investors, and if so, if they had made a good-faith effort to speak with minority and women investors. 
Still, the applicants approved on Wednesday will have to successfully conduct a “controlled demonstration” of their systems and procedures before they are issued their licenses by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. That process will involve taking bets at certain dates and times, but, after that, operators could begin taking bets in bulk.
“Pending the awards of licenses on Wednesday by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), the eagerly awaited launch of mobile sports wagering in Maryland may take place in time for Thanksgiving,” the MLGCA said earlier this week.
Maryland’s sports-betting law allows for up to 60 mobile licenses to be awarded, in addition to permits for 47 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, 30 of which will be distributed on a competitive basis. 
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