Sports betting in Maryland took another step Tuesday toward launch day.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission opened its eLicensing platform to the 17 facilities that were named in Maryland’s sports wagering law, including casinos, professional sports teams/venues and racetracks, according to a news release. The new law expands gambling in Maryland.
These 17 sites will be provided with access to the online system to submit applications to the MLGCC for sports wagering background investigations.
The commission offers requirements and guidelines for applicants on its website.
“We anticipate that some of the 17 specified locations may be able to start taking sports wagers late this fall or early this winter, in time for the NFL playoffs,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said in a news release. “We’re actively working to expedite the process.”
Criminal and financial background investigations by the commission are required for all applicants. Although these investigations typically take several months, the commission is implementing alternative licensing standards, which is permitted within the sports wagering law.
The law allows the MLGCC to waive certain requirements for applicants that hold licenses from other states where “the licensing standards are comprehensive and thorough and provide similar and adequate safeguards” to those required in Maryland.
In other words, the state can issue interim licenses to brick-and-mortar applicants that hold gaming or sports wagering licenses from states where the background investigation standards are equal to those in Maryland.
This could lead to quicker launch of sports wagering operations for some businesses, though the MLGCC will perform its own investigations of applicants, and interim licenses will be revoked if any disqualifying factors are found, the release said.
Maryland’s sports wagering law requires businesses to complete a four-step process to be licensed:
- The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) reviews applications and makes initial suitability determinations of the applicants;
- MLGCC conducts criminal and financial background investigations and makes qualification determinations of the applicants;
- SWARC awards licenses to qualified applicants;
- The MLGCC will then issue the licenses that allow businesses to begin sports wagering operations.
Those Who Can Apply Now
Last month, SWARC expedited the process for the 17 entities named in the law by voting unanimously that the MLGCC’s qualification standards are sufficient for the SWARC to award licenses. They are:
- The state’s six casinos: MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill; Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover; Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore; Hollywood Casino in Perryville; Rocky Gap Casino in Flintstone and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin.
- Five off-track betting facilities: Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium; Jockey Bar and Grill in Boonsboro; Greenmount Station in Hampstead; Long Shot’s in Frederick and Riverboat on the Potomac in Colonial Beach, Va. (in Maryland waters of the Potomac River).
- Three professional sports locations: Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles and FedEx Field in Landover.
- Two bingo halls: Bingo World in Baltimore (Anne Arundel County); and Rod ‘N’ Reel in Chesapeake Beach.
- Horse racing tracks: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and Laurel Park Race Track in Laurel (sharing a single license).
Others Through Competitive Process
The SWARC is also authorized to award up to 30 additional Class B licenses to brick-and-mortar locations and up to 60 licenses to mobile sports wagering licensees through a competitive process.
Regulations and application requirements for SWARC are being developed and ibusinesses seeking competitive licenses can’t apply yet or initiate background investigations. No timeline for these businesses to apply has been finalized.
The SWARC will hold a virtual meeting at 3 p.m. on Sept. 21. The commission is accepting public comments on its sports wagering regulations through Sept. 27. A public meeting on the regulations will be held on Sept. 22.