SWARC Meeting Yields Nov. Date to Consider Applications by Betting Operators

SWARC Meeting Yields Nov. Date to Consider Applications by Betting Operators
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Sports fans got some clarity on the timing of the launch of online Maryland sports betting as a result of Wednesday’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission meeting.

SWARC will meet Nov. 21 to consider recommendations from the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission on what appears will be 10 sports wagering operator applicants as well as 10 Maryland sports app license applications, which are paired, and one Class B retail applicant. 

The Lottery & Gaming Commission meets in what promises to be a marathon session Oct. 27 for hearings on the qualifications for a total of 21 applications. 

What Happens in Review Process?

Once the Lottery & Gaming Control Commission finds applicants qualified, that information will be forwarded to SWARC for its consideration at newly scheduled Nov. 21 meeting. SWARC was initially scheduled to meet Nov. 16 but the date was pushed back.

Assuming SWARC approval of applications on Nov. 21, the awardees of a license then return to Lottery & Gaming for final phase approvals, including controlled demonstrations of operations and procedures, a process that might take two days or so for each. Once Lottery & Gaming issues licenses, operators can begin taking wagers.

In theory, the first online launches could be just before or just after Thanksgiving, but that would be extremely fast. Early- or mid-December seems more certain.

And major operators would appear best suited or best aligned to launch early. So, for instance, it won't be long until you can come to this site for a FanDuel Maryland promo code.

Chairman Notes ‘Milestone Date’

“So, Oct. 27 is a milestone date,” SWARC chairman Tom Brandt said of the upcoming Lottery & Gaming Control Commission meeting next week.

Then, of the SWARC, he noted, “All eyes will be upon us for getting (online) sports wagering going in the state of Maryland. And then we become the gating step in the process.”

Brandt noted that some applicant material has arrived early (although the application window actually runs through Oct. 21). Still, the attorneys and consultants assisting SWARC will need time to review application materials in November, summarize it for the SWARC members, and the commissioners also must digest that information.

Randy Mariner, who sits on both the SWARC and chairs the Lottery & Gaming Control Commission, wondered whether SWARC should keep Nov. 16 open in the event that fewer than 10 applications are ripe for approval by then, but that idea was shelved lest it appear that some applicants were being given some advantage.

The Nov. 21 SWARC meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 pm., as a hybrid meeting, Zoom and in-person, at Lottery headquarters at the Montgomery Park business center in Baltimore.

At today’s SWARC meeting, the commission was also briefed on public comments regarding the online sports wagering and competitive facility sports wagering license regulations.

Among public comments received during the 30-day comment period were some on refunding application fees and others were regarding furthering diversity in the licensing process, but the Lottery & Gaming staff made no recommendations to change any regulations in a substantive way. There was one non-substantive change.

And, not surprisingly, there were a handful of comments expressing frustration it has taken so long for the launch of online sports gambling in Maryland.

Follow BetMaryland.com closely for the latest developments on the way to mobile wagering and for the best Maryland sportsbook promos.
 

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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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