SWARC Delays Maryland Sports Betting Launch (Again)
- Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) Meets, Delays Launch
- Five Approved Casinos Still Waiting for SWARC Approval
- Next SWARC Meeting Nov. 18, Retail Sports Betting Launch Expected “Late Fall”
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Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) Meets, Delays Launch
On Wednesday, Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) met, expected to give their final approval for five previously vetted casinos that are applying for sports betting licenses, but after a two-hour closed session the only thing resolved was the date of their next meeting.
Now those five casinos that the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) already approved for sports betting licenses will have to wait until that next SWARC meeting set for November 18 to have their licenses officially awarded.
No official explanation was given for the delay, but some excessive bloviating appears to have been a part of this process on Wednesday, that’s based on comments by SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt, who told the media:
We all heard a lot, we got our written legal advice, what will be our next milestone? We shouldn’t have long soliloquies next time, these marathons should and will be behind us.
Frustrating news for the various casinos still on hold, not to mention for Old Line State bettors anxious to place legal sports wagers.
Five Approved Casinos Still Waiting for SWARC Approval
Last month, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) approved casino licenses for five Maryland casinos and at that point, they were considered adequately vetted and ready for SWARC approval.
Those five casinos are:
- Hollywood Casino, partnered with Barstool Sportsbook
- Horseshoe Baltimore, partnered with Caesars Sportsbook
- Live! Casino Maryland, partnered with FanDuel Sportsbook
- MGM National Harbor, partnered with BetMGM Sportsbook
- Ocean Downs, partnered with TwinSpires Sportsbook
That should have happened at the last planned SWARC meeting on Oct. 14, but that gathering was postponed without explanation.
Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., who signed Maryland sports betting legislation into law back in May 2021, is not happy with this continuing delay in the process by SWARC, telling reporters on Wednesday:
“If in fact they don’t act immediately and approve [the five casinos]… it’s going to be at least a year or more before anyone gets the ability to do gambling in Maryland. And potentially it could kill the entire deal.”
But it will be at least another two weeks until that approval could potentially happen.
Next SWARC Meeting Nov. 18, Retail Sports Betting Launch Expected “Late Fall”
The next SWARC meeting has been set for November 18, giving them enough time to review the supplemental ownership information from the casinos that they requested after Wednesday’s closed session.
Once SWARC gives those casinos the thumbs up, each would then need final approval of their sportsbook systems and operations by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) before they can officially launch and begin taking sports bets from residents.
At this point, MLGCA Director John Martin has made late-fall the goal for launching Maryland’s retail sports betting market, also saying that online sports betting could take up to an additional 12 months to begin.
Still, Martin sounded frustrated by SWARC’s delay, telling the media on Wednesday:
We’re obviously as disappointed as anyone on the lack of progress today in the SWARC meeting. It was our expectation that they would move favorably on the five entities that we found qualified.
Keep checking back for all 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]