The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) is getting ready to gear up for a busy few months. The commission, which is tasked with reviewing sports betting applications in Maryland, expects to ramp up the frequency of its meetings as it begins to receive an influx of documents.
Maryland Sports Betting Applications
Maryland proprietors who are seeking to obtain a sports betting license had until October 21 to submit the required documents to regulators. 60 licenses for mobile applications and 30 licenses for retail wagering can be awarded on a rolling basis to keep the process moving.
CEO of Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, Jim Nielsen explained why the regulators choose to have a different path.
“We all know that the public was clamoring to get sports betting. We get comments about why hasn’t it launched every day,” he said. “SWARC can make mobile sports betting available somewhat sooner by awarding licenses on a rolling basis.”
He also said that having a universal launch date seems to carry a ton of inherent risk that they do not recommend. In addition, the new approach will provide them with flexibility as they can choose to open the online sports wagering applications again after October 21 if not all of the licenses are awarded.
He added that online sportsbooks may start earlier as their business model require a little less preparation than construction.
Marylanders’ Long Wait Will Soon Be Over
In November 2020, Maryland voters approved legal sports betting at the ballot box. The following spring, the General Assembly formalized the process with a pair of bills that made it legal in the Old Line State.
Sports wagering will soon be live in Maryland, and there are a couple of ways to place bets on sports. There are two main types of sports wagering: online and retail. The regulating process hastens after SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt Jr requested the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee for approval of emergency regulations as soon as possible.
However, regulators have not met Gov. Larry Hogan’s request to at least launch online sports betting before the regular season kickoff of the National Football League (NFL). As per the Governor:
“Marylanders have grown frustrated waiting for mobile sports wagering as they have watched it become available in state after state across the country, including our neighboring jurisdictions of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.”
In the recent meeting, Nielsen expressed that the Agency also desires a faster regulating process, but it will take more time especially when the applicant is not yet familiar with the background investigations related to the gambling industry.
More About SWARC
SWARC was a body created by the General Assembly as a result of the legalization of sports wagering in Maryland. The unit works hand in hand with Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to regulate sports betting licensing and future operations. As per the SWARC Chairman:
“The existence of SWARC is unique in that an awful lot of the evaluation process is the province of the lottery organization, its commission, and staff.”