Maryland Online Sports Betting Kicks Off in a Big Way, Says GeoComply
Posted on: November 28, 2022, 09:44h.
Last updated on: November 29, 2022, 03:00h.
The first weekend of regulated online sports betting in Maryland turned out to be a big, big deal, according to a statement Monday from GeoComply.
The online security services provider to sports betting operators reported it tracked 16.5 million geolocation transactions from last Wednesday morning through Sunday night. That’s when online wagering officially launched.
The company tracked 3.7 million transactions on Thanksgiving Day.
Geolocation transactions, which are conducted to ensure the bettor is physically within the legal jurisdiction when attempting to place a wager, do not equate to wagers. But GeoComply says that the metric is a good way to measure traffic.
In its first weekend, Maryland significantly outperformed more populous states. The Old Line State’s traffic was nearly twice the size of neighboring Virginia’s 8.5 million, and roughly 2.5 times the traffic in Indiana and Tennessee. Maryland bettors also nearly matched the 17.1 million transactions posted in New Jersey, one of the largest sports betting markets in the US.
GeoComply said it tracked more than 477K unique accounts created with the seven sportsbooks that went live last week. That equates to roughly 7.7% of the state’s population of nearly 6.2 million. Individuals may have accounts with more than one operator.
Huge Sports Weekend for Launch
Thanksgiving weekend is typically a big time period for sports. That’s true, especially for football, as there are NFL and college games on the holiday, as well as major college rivalry games on what’s typically the final weekend of the regular season for most teams. There’s also a healthy dose of college basketball, with early-season tournaments offering some enticing matchups.
This year’s holiday weekend also coincided with the World Cup, held in Qatar this year, and played at this time of year because of weather concerns in the desert nation. And on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the US men’s soccer team squared off against England.
That game was one of the most-watched sporting events of the year. The scoreless draw attracted an audience of nearly 20 million viewers who watched on Fox, Spanish broadcaster Telemundo, and streaming provider Peacock.
More Operators to Come
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) has received 21 applications for online licenses. Already, regulators have awarded licenses to 10.
Those approved to launch last week were Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) must still give final approval for Betfred, BetParx, and Fanatics to launch. Maryland would be the first state for online retailer Fanatics’ sports betting division.
The remaining 11 online applicants are still being reviewed by MLGCC staff. That must be completed before SWARC considers them for licensure. The state won’t disclose those operators’ names until staff members complete the background checks and the commission schedules their hearings.
Maryland Sports Betting Timeline
Last week’s online launch in Maryland came more than two years after voters in the state approved a referendum by a more than 2-to-1 margin to allow the gaming activity. In May 2021, the state legislature passed a bill to set up the SWARC and how sports betting would operate. Gov. Larry Hogan then signed that bill into law.
The first brick-and-mortar sportsbooks started taking bets nearly a year ago. The delay in getting online sports betting apps approved drew Hogan’s ire in June of this year. At that time, Hogan pressed the SWARC to do what it could to approve operators by the start of the NFL season in September.
With the official kickoff last week, Hogan said in a statement it took too long to review applicants. Still, he said he was happy to see it off the ground.
In addition to allowing Marylanders to bet on the NFL, March Madness, and so much more, sports betting is helping us keep these critical dollars in the state, and is providing another critical revenue source for Maryland schools,” the governor said.
The state expects to generate $30 million in tax revenue next year from sports betting. It also forecasts that amount to approach $100 million by 2027. That’s based on a 15% tax on gross gaming revenues.
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