Sports betting in Maryland has once again been delayed.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) was expected to approve the sports betting permit applications of three local casinos, but the scheduled meeting of the Commission was postponed, with no reason for the cancellation given. A new date for the meeting is yet to be announced, which puts the sports betting plans of the local Legislature in an uncertain position for the time being.
Earlier this year, Maryland lawmakers made the new form of gambling legal to make the local sports betting market officially active as of June 1st. Apart from some minor issues faced during the process, the biggest hurdle for the new form of gambling to become available in the state was getting the aforementioned operating licenses issued.
However, the last-minute change in plans disrupted the schedule, with a further delay of the new gambling service on the way.
Three Casinos to First Start Offering Sports Betting Services in Maryland
As mentioned above, three casinos in Maryland – the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore and Hanover-based Live! Casino and Hotel – have met the qualification requirements of the authorities to be granted a sports betting license each. Their applications for operating permits were approved by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) at its last meeting and were then forwarded to SWARC for further approval.
The three gambling venues were among the 17 entities that were supposed to start offering sports betting in the state. In August, following a unanimous vote of the SWARC ruled that the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission had enough qualification to award sports betting permits to the 17 designated companies.
All three casino operators have agreed to join forces with qualified sportsbook companies in order to offer both in-person and online sports betting services. MGM National Harbor partnered with BetMGM, Horseshoe Casino joined forces with Caesars Entertainment, while the Live! Casino and Hotel agreed on a collaboration with FanDuel.
Governor Hogan Urges Regulators to Issue Sports Betting Linceses
It has now been almost half a year since Governor Larry Hogan signed the proposed sports betting bill into law and the slow license approval process has made him anxious. Last week, he used his official account on Twitter to ask Maryland voters to address the SWARC and urge it to make everything possible for sports betting to become available as close to the start of the football season as possible.
Our administration recently approved the first three locations for sports wagering in Maryland.
Tell the legislature’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to allow football season betting to begin: email@example.com://t.co/lV7MUxgSkQ
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) October 8, 2021
So far, the process of enacting sports betting in the state has been slowed, and the cancellation of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission’s meeting only caused a further delay of the much-expected launch. Previously, the Director of the MLGCC, John Martin, shared hopes that sports betting becomes available to Maryland residents by late fall. However, in order for this to happen, local casinos must first get licensed to open their sportsbooks.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency is still conducting its investigation into the venues that will be able to add sports betting services to their gambling floors but this is not believed to be the reason for the recent cancellation of the SWARC meeting.