Maryland Sports Betting Won’t Commence Online for Months, Orioles and SuperBook Partner
Maryland sports betting was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan (R) in May 2021. More than a year later, such gambling over the internet still remains on hold, and state officials say mobile sportsbooks won’t launch anytime soon.
In-person sports betting began at five Maryland casinos late last year. But the state’s comprehensive sports betting law — which has been criticized by some for being overly complex and placing too much importance on seeking equity and racial diversity through the gaming expansion — has caused lengthy delays in allowing sports wagering online.
Though Hogan and Maryland sports fans had hoped to have mobile sports betting up and running in time for the NFL regular season, state gaming officials said yesterday an early 2023 launch is a more reasonable time line.
It’s possible that Marylanders could be able to bet on the Super Bowl on a mobile platform. I think that’s everybody’s hope,” said Jim Nelson, deputy director and chief operating officer of the State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) revealed during its meeting this week the time frame for getting things up and running. Once mobile application rules are approved by a legislative committee, the commission will commence with a 45-day bidding period. SWARC says it will then take another 45 days to determine which applicants will be awarded online sports betting privileges.
Maryland’s sports betting bill allows for up to 30 facility licenses and 60 mobile licenses.
Fingers Pointed for Delay
Hogan is among those frustrated with the slow deployment of online sports betting. But SWARC, which is tasked with determining which business applicants receive sports betting licenses, deflects the blame to the state legislature. They blame it for requiring that the licenses be fairly issued to minority- and women-owned businesses.
SWARC in July decided to bypass waiting on the “disparity analysis” it commissioned to determine if Maryland’s gaming industry has wrongly shunned any minority groups from participating. The decision was made to expedite the launch of online sports betting.
Race and gender-based licensing criteria will no longer be a part of SWARC’s online licensing application process. But its bidding procedures are still being crafted by SWARC staff.
The lengthy time from legalization to launch is costing the state millions of dollars in lost tax revenue. Mobile books are where the vast majority of sports gambling takes place in states where online and in-person sports betting has been approved.
Maryland oddsmakers won $19.2 million from retail bettors from December 2021 through June 2022, generating just a $2.8 million tax benefit for the state. The state is expected to receive more than $15 million annually from sports gambling once online books are live.
Orioles Bet on SuperBook
Maryland’s sports betting law qualified the state’s professional sports venues to incorporate sportsbooks in or directly outside their facilities. SWARC yesterday formally approved retail licenses for FedEx Field and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
FedEx Field is partnering with FanDuel for its on-site brick-and-mortar sports betting lounge. The Baltimore Orioles confirmed this week that has aligned with SuperBook Sports, which has been operational in Nevada since the 1980s.
The O’s says its SuperBook Sports Lounge will open next year inside Camden Yards. Betting, however, will be limited to mobile apps.
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