Maryland Lottery & Gaming Warns of Scam Surrounding State Sports Betting Licensing

Maryland Lottery & Gaming Warns of Scam Surrounding State Sports Betting Licensing
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Ron Fritz

Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency Deputy Director/Chief Operating Officer Jim Nielsen alerted those interested in the evolving Maryland sports gambling landscape that a scam was afoot regarding licensing.

In an email sent Tuesday evening, Nielsen wrote that an applicant for a wagering license recently received a series of emails and phone calls from an individual who falsely claimed to be a state of Maryland employee who had some involvement in the sports betting licensing efforts.

The scam artist attempted to convince the applicant that she was “an insider” who could help in getting a license and in one message asked for $20,000 for this assistance.

Needless to say, the offer was bogus.

In his cautionary note, Nielsen wrote: “Please be assured that any State of Maryland employee who attempts to contact you regarding sports wagering will do so from an email address ending in ‘maryland.gov,’ (the scam email came from a Gmail address) or from a ‘State of Maryland’ phone number. They will never ask you to send money directly to them and they will not ‘guarantee’ you a license in exchange for money.”

Nielsen went on to say that anyone receiving a suspicious contact from someone claiming to be a Maryland Lottery & Gaming employee should contact Lottery & Gaming. Also, any suspicious contacts should be reported to the Maryland Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (email: consumer@oag.state.md.us; phone: 410-528-8662).

Sports Betting Licensing Process Continues

Currently, Maryland Lottery & Gaming, as well as the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, are working through the processes of creating regulations and crafting applications for competitive retail licenses and for online licenses, including those for Maryland sports betting apps

Each of those two groups has its own application process and officials familiar with that process have made it abundantly clear that successfully navigating the road to getting a license requires considerable effort and resources.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan recently sent a letter to SWARC urging the commission to step up its efforts to get online sports betting up and running.

The head of the commission, Thomas Brandt, at an emergency meeting in late June, asked for patience with the process, but said that Maryland applications should be ready soon

So far in Maryland five retail sportsbooks are operating, all in casinos.  Four smaller businesses — three OTBs and a bingo facility -- have been awarded licenses but still need to complete final phases of preparation before they can begin taking bets.

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A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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