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Give a bettor a choice between legal retail and mobile sports gambling, and about 90% of the time they have shown they prefer betting online over in person, which is why in most states where that activity has been made legal both options have been made available to gamblers.
Not in Maryland, though, where it has been legal to sports bet since late last year but only in person at one of their six physical locations since their mobile sports betting market has yet to launch, the result of enough red tape to stall that inevitable part of this new market.
In order to speed up the regulatory portion of the mobile launch, Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) has proposed some emergency regulations that would serve as temporary rules to live by until more permanent ones can be put in place.
But the Maryland Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) has yet to approve those temporary rules, so to get things moving along SWARC Chairman Thomas M. Brandt sent them a letter last week to give AELR a polite nudge.
The key deadline in question is the upcoming (and gambling-lucrative) NFL season.
Anybody who sports gambles already knows what SWARC Chairman Brandt is attempting to remind the AELR of which is how crucial the NFL is to the gambling market, writing this in his letter:
After much work, we are nearly at the finish line, but we need your help. The sports wagering industry is ‘seasonal,’ and the football season annually generates much more activity than other times of the year. Thus, unless we move quickly, Marylanders will miss access to mobile wagering on the 2022 football season, and the state will miss out on the related revenue.
In other words, move it or lose it, the ‘it’ being billions of dollars’ worth of handle and multi-millions of dollars in sportsbook revenue and therefore state tax revenue, all part of a new money stream that will most likely be reinvested in funding programs important to residents.
Should the AELR fail to get the hint and take more time to approve those temporary regulations and thus miss all or part of the NFL season (which starts next Thursday, September 8, and runs through the first part of February), it will not stop Maryland punters from making their NFL bets.
Like any U.S. sports gambler living where they cannot place a legal wager, Maryland bettors already have in place plenty of their own mobile options, including unregulated offshore sportsbooks and local (and illegal) bookies where nothing is guaranteed including payments.
The other option for any Maryland sports bettors living near the border of that state is to travel to one of the nearby neighboring states where that legal mobile market has already been launched, as it has in New Jersey, Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Expect a resolution sooner rather than later given all the money that is at stake here, so be sure to keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.
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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