November or December? Maryland launch timeline

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Maryland’s Sports Betting Application Review Board met Thursday, providing an update on the timeline for the upcoming launch of legal mobile sports betting in the state. A late November launch of mobile sportsbooks seems like the soonest possible, and it’s possible these sportsbooks won’t go live until December.

SWARC and Maryland Lottery staff announced Wednesday that 10 applications have been submitted for mobile sports betting licenses. Entities wishing to receive a mobile license should apply by Friday evening, when the application submission window closes.

“I would expect a few more to come, based on conversations in the industry,” said Kimberly Coppattorney at Taft, a law firm assisting SWARC throughout the process.

What else needs to happen before launch

Once the application window closes on Friday, the Maryland Lottery and SWARC will review applications. On October 27, the lottery will hold qualifying hearings for mobile contestants.

There is a bit of a delay after that as Commissioners Taft and SWARC will thoroughly review the applications. The group will not meet again until November 21, although they have left open the possibility of reuniting on November 16 if they finish work earlier than expected.

A Nov. 21 meeting date for SWARC is somewhat interesting, as the group determined it needed almost a full month to review the initial batch of around 10 mobile sports betting apps. Sportsbook operators like Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and FanDuel have a nationwide mobile presence, and these operators all have retail sportsbooks in Maryland. These entities have already been controlled to some extent by SWARC and the lottery in order to operate retail sports betting, which theoretically could have led to a quick approval of their mobile licenses.

Anyway, at the November 21 meeting, SWARC will discuss the lottery applicants deemed qualified at the October 27 meeting. Mobile licenses will likely be awarded at the November 21 SWARC meeting.

The lottery carries out the final technical verifications after the attribution of the licenses by SWARC. Once these checks are completed, a mobile bookmaker is allowed to get started. The final step shouldn’t take too long, paving the way for legal mobile betting platforms to go live in Maryland in late November or early December.

Public Comment Discussion

At the start of Wednesday’s meeting, SWARC commissioners discussed recently submitted public comments on the group’s sports betting regulations. SWARC did not choose to make substantial changes to the regulations because a few of the public comment suggestions would have taken SWARC outside of its purview.

“The comments that have been received in some cases are excellent, they are ambitious,” said Cézar Frœlich, a lawyer for Taft. “The problem is they’re not allowed under the law to be upheld, or in some cases, while they’re probably socially a good thing to do, they can’t be upheld because of the US Constitution. or the state constitution of Maryland, so we’re kind of hamstrung by some of the suggestions, which were great suggestions – it’s just that the law doesn’t allow them.

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