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Maryland aims to speed up online betting licensing with rolling approvals


The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) has agreed to award licenses for mobile sports betting on a rolling basis, in an effort to launch the vertical this year.

SWARC opened applications for mobile sports betting licenses on September 7.  The application period will end on October 21 at 5pm.

The application fee is $500,000.

In a meeting on September 22, Jim Nielsen, deputy director and chief operating officer of the Maryland State Lottery Gaming and Control Agency, posed that it would be best to award licences on a rolling basis in order to meet the demand of sports betting quicker.

However, he said that this should only be the case if less than 60 applications are received. This is the maximum number of sports betting licences available.

“It may be desirable – and it’s arguably beneficial – for SWARC to award licenses on a rolling basis,” he said. “The public are clamoring to get sports betting.”

“We get comments about why hasn’t it launched yet every day. SWARC can make mobile sports betting available somewhat sooner by awarding licences on a rolling basis.”

Neilsen added that acceptable applicants could be awarded licenses in a short amount of time – particularly mobile applicants.

“Anyone that submits a timely and acceptable application may be awarded a licence,” he said. “Awardees would have to complete operational requirements – internal controls, responsible gaming, controlled demonstrations, all those things – and then they could be issued a licence in very short order.”

“For mobile [licenses], there’s little construction that they’re going to need to do, so they can move faster than some of the class B operations that we’ve seen.”

The motion was passed unanimously.

Sports betting was legalized in Maryland in 2021, after Maryland residents voted in its favour during the November 2020 referendum.

Earlier this year, governor Larry Hogan criticized SWARC for the delay in introducing sports betting to the state, calling the wait “unacceptable”. Hogan demanded that the state launch online betting in time for the start of the NFL season, but tat date passed three weeks ago without a launch.