On Thursday, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) approved the draft regulations for online sports betting in the state. This is a significant step forward, as it means that the application process can now begin.
Influence Of Governor Hogan On SWARC’s Actions
In response to pressure from Governor Larry Hogan, the SWARC has expedited its efforts to launch online sports betting in Maryland. At a meeting last month, the commission only briefly addressed the governor’s concerns.
However, it is clear that they are now working more quickly than before. This is a positive step forward, as online sports betting could provide a much-needed boost to the state’s economy.
The SWARC is moving forward without a disparity study which they expect to review next month. This study would determine if extra efforts were needed to include minority- and women-owned businesses in the sports betting industry.
The commission’s decision to move forward without the study has been met with criticism from some who argue that the commission is not prioritizing diversity. However, the commission has defended its decision, saying that they are confident that they can create an inclusive environment without the study.
The SWARC has been meeting monthly since August 2021 in order to launch mobile sports betting. However, they have been holding it up under the guise of making the industry inclusive by implementing it with criteria.
SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt stated:
“Over the past year, we’ve heard extensive legal advice regarding constraints upon us in so managing a licensing process,”
“To avoid further delays, we’ve asked the staff and professional team to draft regulations which exclude race- and gender-based license criteria,” he added
With the additional revenue, Maryland could invest in education, infrastructure, and other vital services. It is important that the commission continues to make progress on this issue so that Maryland can begin reaping the benefits as soon as possible.
While there is still no timeline for when bets will actually be accepted online, it is clear that the process is now underway.
Sports Betting In Maryland
In December 2021, retail sports betting became legal in Maryland, with the first casino-based sportsbooks opening the same month. This began with the BetMGM Sportsbook at the MGM National Harbor, followed by Caesars Sportsbook at the Horseshoe Casino and the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Live Casino Hotel.
While Maryland will likely not have fully legal online sports betting until the end of 2022, there are neighboring states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia where legal online sports betting has already arrived.
This leaves Maryland residents at a disadvantage when it comes to placing bets on their favorite teams.