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Sports betting is legal in Maryland – has been since December of last year – except residents can only place bets in person, meaning all mobile options so far are out, a glitch in that new market that Governor Larry Hogan is unhappy with as he made it clear in a letter last week.
With words dripping in frustration, Gov. Hogan called out state lawmakers for dragging their heels on creating a mobile version of that market, saying:
Sports fans in Maryland simply want to be able to place bets on their mobile devices—that’s what they voted for … Our state and Its citizens deserve clear and definitive action … not endless bureaucratic roadblocks that continue to hold back progress.
It’s mainly a call to action directed toward the so-called SWARC – the Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission – the main body responsible for forwarding whatever legislative action is required to set up online access to the legal sports betting market already in play there.
Gov. Hogan minces no words as he holds the SWARC and its sluggish lawmakers accountable, saying:
Instead of decisive action to implement the voters’ decision, you have allowed the process to stagnate and become mired in overly bureaucratic procedures that have needlessly delayed the state’s ability to maximize the revenue potential of this emerging industry.
As a result of these delays, the mobile launch date in Maryland will most likely not happen before at least the start of next year.
Part of Gov. Hogan’s recent letter meant to hold SWARC accountable for their failure to move forward with a mobile portion of their existing sports betting market breaks down some of the more important actions that he feels need to take place in order to move things forward.
Hogan calls for a definitive timeline for mobile sports betting to launch, and he wants to give mobile priority to all the retail sportsbooks already in place, and the Governor also advises the SWARC to apply the same expedited approach to mobile licensing as they did for retail.
Also in his letter, Hogan gives praise to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency for its ongoing efforts in pushing the mobile option forward despite all the red tape in their path, and he expresses hope that the SWARC can begin to do the same.
Of course, the longer they delay, the more costly it gets.
States who have legalized both retail and mobile sports betting options have found that the online version generates the most handle and revenue, a financial imbalance that Governor Hogan and other Maryland lawmakers in favor of online sports betting are quick to point out.
The retail sports betting market in Maryland reportedly generated a handle of $26.9 million in April alone, and if a mobile market had also been in place during that month, that bet total would most likely be more that double that figure, the result of gamblers preferring their couches.
Whether the SWARC listens to the Governor’s words and overcomes whatever is currently slowing down that process will become more evident in the days that follow the meeting they held late last week, so check back for all the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.
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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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