Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission approved the ninth retail sportsbook license in the state on Wednesday.
This one is for Bingo World, a bingo facility in Anne Arundel County just outside the city of Baltimore that was found to be qualified for a Maryland sports betting license by the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Commission last month. Lottery & Gaming had forwarded that recommendation to the SWARC.
So far, Maryland has five retail sportsbooks up and running — all of those are in casinos. In February, the five casino sportsbooks combined to handle $25.5 million in bets and sent more than $134,000 to the state.
The first retail sports bet in Maryland was placed on Dec. 9.
While three smaller businesses, all of them OTBs with bar-restaurant operations, were issued licenses in December, none has yet completed the final stages of the process, an indication that actually getting to the point where a business is taking sports bets is a complex enterprise.
An official from Maryland Lottery & Gaming reported to the SWARC that three more businesses of the 17 in total that were specifically designated in Maryland’s sports wagering law for either a Class A or Class B sports wagering facility license are in some early phase of the application process. Meanwhile, five of the 17 designated businesses have been largely quiet.
Online sports wagering, which is also part of Maryland’s sports betting law, remains a distant target but progress is slowly being made.
Disparity Analysis Set
An attorney with the Maryland State Attorney General’s Office told the SWARC that an outside firm has been contracted to do a disparity analysis of the sports wagering industry. Such a study is considered an essential step before the process of licensing online sports wagering companies can even begin. The most recent and most optimistic forecast for online sports wagering in Maryland is the opening of the 2022 NFL season.
Maryland’s sports betting law prioritizes participation by companies with minority and women equity involvement and by small businesses, in general.
As Maryland continues its deliberate pace toward online sports gambling, an outside law firm has surveyed gaming industry companies for feedback and is also doing outreach to encourage participation by the small businesses and minority- and women-owned businesses that Maryland’s law wants to attract.
Sports Betting Symposium Planned
To further that outreach, the SWARC’s outside law firm is engaging Spectrum Gaming, a highly regarded gaming consulting firm based in New Jersey, to help run an in-person informational symposium, which would include various panels, on getting started in the sports wagering business. The target for such a session is the end of April or early May.
Last year, shortly after sports wagering legislation was passed in Maryland, Spectrum Gaming helped lead a day of panels at Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover, which introduced broadly the sports wagering business to attendees.
Interested parties looking to get into the sports wagering business can get more information at the SWARC’s website, SWARC.org.