Maryland Online Sports Betting Expected to Launch by Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 15, 2022, 11:28h. 

Last updated on: November 16, 2022, 03:05h.

Maryland’s lengthy process of licensing online sportsbooks and allowing wagers to commence via the internet is finally nearing the finish line.

Maryland online sports betting sportsbook SWARC
The Maryland Terrapins mascot pumps up the crowd while waving the Maryland state flag during a home basketball game in December 2021. Maryland online sports betting is expected to commence in time for Thanksgiving 2022. (Image: Getty)

The move comes more than two years after Maryland voters amended their state constitution to allow gambling on collegiate and professional sports through a ballot referendum. Now the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) says it’s ready to issue online sportsbook licenses. SWARC meets Wednesday morning in Baltimore, where the state agency is expected to sign off on mobile sports gambling concessions for 10 applicants.

We had originally planned our next meeting to be Nov. 21, but we’ve been working with our consultants … to accelerate the pace and hold it earlier,” SWARC chairman Tom Brandt said in a release.

“Our focus for this meeting will be the mobile applicants who have been qualified by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC),” Brandt added. “Mobile wagering will account for the bulk of the revenue from sports wagering, and we’re eager to enable Maryland to enter that market.”

Marketing, Promotions Underway

The 10 applicants expected to be issued online sports betting privileges on Wednesday are Arundel Amusements (Bingo World), BetMGM, DraftKings, Caesars Sportsbook, Greenmount OTB, Long Shot’s, Maryland Stadium Sub (Washington Commanders), Penn Entertainment (Hollywood Casino Perryville), Live! Casino and Hotel, and the Riverboat on the Potomac.

SWARC formally approving the applicants won’t allow the entity to begin accepting internet sports bets immediately. Instead, each platform approved by SWARC will need to undergo a successful controlled demonstration of its operating systems and procedures monitored closely by the MLGCC.

If the MLGCC finds the applicant’s operations suitable for full licensure, the state gaming regulator will issue its final blessing and the book can open its business to the general public. The MLGCC hasn’t said how long each testing period will run. But outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said the state hopes online sports betting is fully operational in time for Thanksgiving.

“Information on the timing of controlled demonstrations and the earliest date when mobile sportsbooks will be permitted to launch will be forthcoming,” SWARC detailed.

Maryland’s sports betting law allows SWARC to issue up to 60 mobile licenses. The state agency says additional applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with the next batch planned for review during the commission’s December 14 meeting.

Marketing, Promotions Underway

The major players in the national sports betting industry are already marketing their forthcoming operations to entice customers to register with their platforms through promotional incentives. Television and radio commercial spots in Maryland are flooded with online sportsbook firms expected to receive their operating licenses during SWARC’s Wednesday meeting.

Many operators have launched their sports betting apps in Maryland, though no actual wagers can yet be facilitated through the platforms.

Caesars Sportsbook unveiled its iOS and Android app in Maryland on Tuesday, with users receiving $100 in wagering credits with a qualifying $20 deposit. BetMGM is offering registrants $200 in site credit if they sign up before SWARC issues online sports betting licenses.

FanDuel is offering $100 in credit with a user’s first bet of at least $1. DraftKings says anyone who pre-registers in Maryland will receive $200 once the sportsbook goes live.