Maryland Sports Betting Regulators Hear Public Comment on Proposed Rules

Maryland Sports Betting Regulators Hear Public Comment on Proposed Rules
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by BetMaryland.com Staff

Maryland gaming regulators fulfilled another requirement in their attempts to get online sports wagering launched in the state as soon as possible by holding an in-person public comment meeting Friday regarding emergency regulations for online wagering.

Actually, the public comment period on those Maryland sports betting regulations extends for 30 days through Sept. 26, and interested parties can still submit comments in writing until then. Text of the regulations and a link to make comment can be found at SWARC.org.

Meanwhile, the window for businesses who want to apply for online sports wagering licenses and competitive retail licenses is now open and will remain open until Oct. 21. There are 60 online licenses available and 30 competitive retail licenses, although it’s not likely that there will be that many mobile applicants.

Unique Maryland Sports Betting Law

The Maryland sports wagering law strongly encourages minority- and women-owned business participation in a substantial way, making it one of the most-inclusive sports betting laws in the U.S.

Friday’s session at the Baltimore headquarters building of the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission was attended by Sports Wagering Application Review Commission chairman Tom Brandt and Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency deputy director and COO Jim Neilson.

Both listened without commenting as James Butler, also of the Lottery & Gaming Control Agency, conducted the comment session. 

Recently, Neilson noted during a public meeting that he was hopeful online sports wagering could be launched in Maryland by the Super Bowl in February although the clear sentiment is that the sooner it happens, the better.

Concern Raised About Application Fees

About 15 to 20 people attended the in-person session and one attendee, Arthur Robinson of Full Circle Solutions, a Baltimore IT company, offered most of the public observations and comments.

Among Robinson’s concerns were that the regulations stipulate that application fees, which can be hefty for some businesses, were not refundable even if a license is not approved.

He also noted the fee for an online sports wagering application was $500,000 for both large and small companies and suggested the fee be scaled downward for smaller businesses. And he asked that leeway be given in the application process for smaller businesses in some instances. 

Robinson also said he felt that regulation language addressing the outreach to and inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses by companies seeking online licenses, which is currently couched as “good-faith efforts,” should be more explicit in describing such efforts as requirements.

“We look at it as an opportunity for Marylanders by Marylanders,” Robinson said. “This gives Maryland an opportunity to have home-grown innovation where Maryland could be the home of the new DraftKings or FanDuel. We understand that there’s already a FanDuel and a DraftKings but we’re looking for the opportunity to build something here in Maryland.”

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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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