The Maryland Sports betting application review committee awarded Maryland’s first five sports betting licenses Thursday.
After a long discussion on inclusion, SWARC approved licenses in a 5-2 vote. These retail sports betting will likely open at some point January 1, 2022, according to a schedule previously established by Jean Martin, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
“It is our duty to do the job,” said Commissioner E. Randolph Marriner, who is also the chairman of Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission. “Every day we don’t pass people we think are qualified, the state of Maryland is losing revenue. “
Along with the vote for the five licenses, SWARC also discussed how the Commissioners hope to establish a competitive licensing process for Class B and mobile licenses. Martin said LSR this week, it will likely take another year before the launch of mobile sports betting in Maryland.
Licensing of sports betting in Maryland
SWARC has awarded retail sports betting licenses to five casinos that previously received alternative licensing standards from the MLGCA:
- Ocean Downs Casino (TwinSpires)
- MGM National Port (BetMGM)
- Live! Casino and Hotel (FanDuel Sportsbook)
- Horseshoe Baltimore (sport bets)
- Hollywood Casino (Penn National Gaming)
MLGCA staff still need to approve retail sports betting operations, which Martin says will take 30 To 45 days. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission voted to delegate the authority to issue licenses at a meeting Thursday afternoon.
Like the five other casinos previously, the MLGCC alternative licensing standards approved for a PointsBet sports betting to River boat on the Potomac See you on Thursday. Fourteen of the 17 establishments reserved for retail sports betting in the legislation have started the application process.
Divided opinions on licensing
With a legislative directive to ensure the participation of minority and women-owned businesses in the sports betting industry, several SWARC commissioners are concerned about the prospect of advancing five candidates without majority or female ownership.
This worry was enough to Commissioner Cassandra Stevenson and Commissioner Frank Turner vote no. Earlier in the meeting, Turner said he felt like he was “rushed”.
Commissioner Rosie Allen-Herring said she wanted the legislation not to affect licensing and that candidates for various owners were included in this first group. Still, Allen-Herring voted to approve the licenses.
Various contenders in Maryland’s sports betting pipeline
Several of the sports betting retail license applicants established in the legislation are minority and female. At the last SWARC meeting, the Commissioners requested additional information on the ownership of the 17 named entities.
Eleven of the establishments responded with additional information about the property:
- Two candidates are 100% “non-minority men”.
- One applicant is 100% female owned
- One applicant is predominantly held by women.
- Two applicants have female owners.
- An applicant belongs to three people who identify as minorities.
- Four candidates belong to the state with a minority stake.
One entity with a minority stake is the Riverboat on the Potomac.
Mobile sports betting is where the money waits
SWARC has yet to establish guidelines and regulations for mobile sports betting. Before voting for the five retail licenses, legal counsel to the commission Taft Stettinius & Hollister explained the we sports betting landscape.
Kim copp, co-chair of Taft’s gaming industry group, said retail sports betting at the 17 the establishments described in the legislation would not obtain a significant competitive advantage. It is because until 95% of sports betting revenue will come from mobile, she said.
Mobile license plan still in progress
Taft partner Cezar Froelich said they were working on a comprehensive plan to “roll out Class B mobile and supplemental licenses.” This will likely limit licenses below the 60 available in legislation and potentially tie them to the 30 concurrent class B licenses.
A push for a uniform mobile launch could also be in play to ensure a level playing field.
Based on Taft’s comments, Commissioner Laura Gamble said the focus on diversity should be on the mobile process.