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It’s a story we have been following for some time now as Maryland continues to move towards launching a mobile sports betting market to accompany the in-person option already running there, this process taking too long according to the recent public statements that were shared.
Overseeing the distribution of sports betting licenses is the job of Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) and in a valiant effort to consider what the state’s residents have to say the group had accepted comments from the public at their website.
That public feedback was just published by SWARC, and the complaints seemed to vastly outnumber the compliments, with the majority of the gripes revolving around how long it has been taking for that mobile sports betting market to launch for Maryland’s sports gamblers.
One resident wanted to know, “What in God’s name is taking so long?” and demanded SWARC “give out the licenses already and stop wasting time and money.”
Another furious commenter added,
MD voters approved mobile betting in November of 2020. What gives you the right to delay democracy?
Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan signed a sports betting bill into law in May 2021 and that legislation allows for both retail and mobile sports betting to take place there but only the in-person option has been launched while the online market continues to be set up.
In our prior article entitled Maryland Approves Diversity Plan Requirement for Mobile Sports Betting Licensees we reported on the SWARC-approved diversity plan amendment that was implemented to attract a more diverse group of mobile sports betting license applicants.
Then to speed things up the commission requested applicants to explain how they would improve or maintain diversity within 30 days of being given a Maryland sportsbook license and satisfying that requirement has apparently been stalling the entire operation.
Another delay stems from the SWARC recommendation that applicants for mobile licenses have at least one owner whose net worth is less than $1.847 million which, according to bet365 attorney Robert Moncrief, limits participants without directly benefitting Maryland residents:
Any limitations on what operators can participate in the industry that aren’t driven by suitability or experience considerations, run the risk of adversely impacting the tax revenue generated by the state, as well as limiting customer choice in what would otherwise be a robust and competitive industry.
Further debate on these issues should unfold next week.
The next SWARC meeting is scheduled for October 19 when these public comments will be discussed by commission members and presumably the best ideas will be incorporated into the regulatory process and the complaints will be taken into consideration.
Meantime, Maryland sports betters who want to wager on the NFL’s regular season games or the ongoing MLB postseason will have to make those bets in person or else use the unregulated offshore sportsbooks if they want to take the chance with those mobile apps.
That’s money lost for Maryland and no doubt the SWARC members understand the need for speed, but they will only get this one chance to do it right so expect it to take as much time as is needed.
Keep checking back for the latest news and updates on this ongoing 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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