Recently SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt Jr. requested the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) to immediately approve the proposed emergency regulations. Maryland sports betting has been waiting for more than one year and even the regulators are feeling a sense of urgency to launch the online sportsbooks soon.

Joint Committee’s Approval is Vital

After requesting the joint committee on AELR to “promptly approve” the regulations, SWARC Chairman addressed the importance of mobile wagering licenses as it is the goal of Maryland’s Sports Wagering Law. In addition, Brandt also addressed that AELR’s approval is vital to the process.

“SWARC approved its proposed regulations last month and submitted them for consideration by AELR on July 22, 2022,” Brandt said. “Without AELR’s approval, SWARC is not able to fully and properly build Maryland’s sports wagering program, including mobile wagering, which is central to the program’s success.”

This is because SWARC was advised that before they can begin the application process, they have to wait for two things to be achieved. The first is to secure approval from AELR about the emergency regulations, another is the completion of a sports wagering industry analysis.

As soon as these actions are completed, SWARC may start the application, evaluation, and finally, the awarding of licenses to the qualified sportsbooks.

Industry Analysis Completed But Not Yet Received

Maryland’s SWARC is currently working on a disparity analysis which is designed to see what measures should the organization add to support including minority- and women-owned businesses in the Old Line State’s sports betting industry.

This is an important issue because it will help to ensure that the playing field is level for all participants. The hope is that by gathering this data, they will be able to identify any disparities that exist and then put into place measures that will help to level the playing field. 

He also wrote that last August 19, the Maryland Department of Transportation notified the commission about the recent completion of the sports wagering industry analysis. Based on the conclusion drawn by Dr. Jon Wainwright, the author, SWARC’s applicant evaluation is not able to implement race- and/or gender-conscious criteria.

While the measures are not yet applied, Brandt stated that “SWARC decided to use a Personal Net Worth (PNW) provision (proposed COMAR Under this provision, every applicant for a competitive mobile or Class B facility sports wagering license will be required to demonstrate that at least 5% of its direct or indirect ownership is by individuals with a PNW no more than $1.847 million.”

SWARC Chairman Seeks Faster Developments

With the recent developments and actions of the SWARC, Brandt is hoping that there will be a faster pace in the mobile wagering launch. Maryland is in the critical steps and a long bureaucratic process will not help the people.

In the conclusion of the letter, Brandt encourages AELR to act more swiftly not just for SWARC but also Marylanders as they have been waiting for the launch of mobile sports wagering since the Sports Wagering Law was passed last December 2021.

“The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund is awaiting the revenue that sports wagering will contribute to public schools. But none of this can happen until AELR acts on our proposed emergency regulations.”