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Last Thursday, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) gave the thumbs up to two more applications for sports betting licenses, so now they will be sent over to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), the group that actually awards the licenses.
According to the MLGCC, both the Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin have met the established criteria for sports wagering licenses in the Old Line State and now they join three other approved applicants – the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, and MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill – to await SWARC approval.
In a press release, MLGCC Director John Martin gave a general timetable for the actual launch.
We’ve approved five facilities, and our work is ongoing. We’ll continue sending applications to the SWARC so that it can make awards and sports wagering can launch by late fall. It’s what the public wants and expects, and we’re doing everything we can to deliver it.
Except nobody knows yet when the next SWARC meeting will be.
The SWARC just postponed a planned October 14 meeting and at this point, SWARC representatives have given no indication why the meeting was delayed.
That doesn’t please industry and state leaders who are hoping for a late fall to early winter launch, and even Governor Larry Hogan has made it clear via Twitter that legal sports gambling is a priority in his state.
No one is pushing harder than I am to get sports betting up and running here in the State of Maryland. With Marylanders looking forward to betting on the NFL and March Madness, we now expect the legislature’s Sports Wagering Applicant Review Commission to swiftly approve these licenses.
No one is pushing harder than I am to get sports betting up and running here in the State of Maryland. My full statement following @MDLottery determining that Hollywood Casino and Ocean Downs Casino qualify for sports wagering licenses: pic.twitter.com/fkG7sLFc61
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) October 21, 2021
Given that Maryland’s sports betting law allows for up to 60 online and 47 retail sportsbook licenses to be issued, that SWARC queue could start getting bulky if that next meeting keeps getting pushed back.
These delays are costing Maryland millions of dollars in potential tax revenue.
According to industry analysts, once the sports betting market matures in Maryland it could attract over $200 million in annual gaming revenue on more than $3 billion in bets, and that equates to about $35 million in tax revenue that will benefit residents of the state.
Back in April 2020, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that permits both online and retail sports betting in the state, which voters approved in November 2020 allowing Gov. Hogan to then sign that legislation into law by May 2021.
Since then, there has been plenty of political and functional red tape littering the pathway to legal sports betting launch including this recently delayed SWARC meeting, which means state residents must continue to wait to start benefitting from this lucrative market.
Keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on Maryland’s upcoming sports betting launch.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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