Mobile wagering has finally launched two years after Maryland voters legalized sports betting.
One day before Thanksgiving, seven online sportsbooks — Barstool, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet — began accepting wagers, according to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC).
The seven were allowed to launch after a two-day soft launch period that began November 21 and involved controlled demonstrations and system checks observed by the MLGCC.
Approved Mobile Sports Betting Operators in Maryland
|Operator||Mobile Sports Wagering Licensee||Partner|
|Barstool Sportsbook||PENN Maryland OSB LLC||Hollywood Casino Perryville|
|Betfred||Long Shot’s LLC||Long Shot’s|
|BetMGM||BetMGM Maryland Sports LLC||MGM National Harbor|
|betPARX||Greenmount OTB LLC||Greenmount Station|
|BetRivers||Arundel Amusements||Bingo World|
|Caesars Sportsbook||CZR Maryland Mobile Opportunity LLC||Horseshoe Casino Baltimore|
|DraftKings||Crown MD Online Gaming LLC||Baltimore Ravens|
|Fanatics||Maryland Stadium Sub LLC||Washington Commanders|
|FanDuel||PPE Maryland Mobile LLC||Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland|
|PointsBet||Riverboat on the Potomac||Riverboat on the Potomac|
Three Sportsbooks Yet to Launch
Three other online sportsbooks — Betfred, betPARX, and Fanatics — were awarded licenses on November 16 by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC).
“There were three entities awarded licenses last week by SWARC, and they advised us they would not be ready this week,” MLGCC Director John Martin said during a press conference on November 22. “[Our] staff is working closely with all three to guide them through the operation requirements they must complete before being given clearance to launch.
“A timetable has not been set yet for when those three entities will be able to launch.”
SWARC, an entity authorized by the state legislature to award up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses, said it had received 21 applications by an October 21 deadline. SWARC said it was continuing to review the remaining 11 applications and could issue more licenses at its next meeting on December 14.
A Long Time Coming
The time it took legislators to enact Maryland online sports betting hit a record 24 months.
Marylanders voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum to legalize sports betting in November 2020. The referendum allowed the state’s General Assembly to consider sweeping legislation to create a state sports betting regimen. Republican Governor Larry Hogan signed the bill lawmakers created, HB 940, on May 18, 2021.
The legislation automatically granted five-year licenses for in-person sports betting at 17 retail locations, including Maryland’s six land-based casinos, three stadiums home to major professional sports teams, horse racing tracks, the state fairgrounds, and a riverboat casino. Maryland will also issue 30 sports wagering facility licenses and 60 mobile sports wagering licenses.
Hogan, a strong proponent of expanded gaming, has been particularly frustrated with the delay in launching mobile sports betting. Speaking at the same presser with Martin, the governor blamed SWARC for “one excuse and one obstruction after another.
“When it came to getting mobile sports betting up and running, they allowed the process to be bogged down and bureaucratic. Political and legal delays threatened to push back the launch of mobile sports betting all the way past the Super Bowl next year. It was inexcusable and completely unacceptable to me.”
The Republican, who leaves office in January, added, “This process took longer than it should have, but we’re excited that this launch is in time for fans to place their bets on all the Thanksgiving Day NFL action, college football rivalry weekend, this week’s slate of NBA games, the 2022 World Cup, and this Sunday’s Ravens and Commanders games.”
Martin said the state estimates that annual tax revenue from online sports betting in Maryland will be up to $30 million in 2023 and $100 million by 2027. He said the state also expects that in late spring/early summer 2023, the Maryland market will include up to 21 mobile licenses and 15 to 20 facility licenses.