The process will move forward even as Maryland lottery officials take public comments on proposed rules for the next two weeks.
Football season is underway, and a handful of states such as Arizona and Washington got their sports-wagering programs up and running just in time last week, joining a growing list of jurisdictions such as Virginia, D.C., New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In the spring, lawmakers established the framework for a legalized sports-betting process in Maryland, too, after voters approved its legalization last year.
So why is it still not happening? Basically, because every state writes its own laws differently, Maryland included.
“Each jurisdiction writes a law they feel is best applicable to their specific jurisdiction,” said John Martin, the director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
“The law written here in Maryland is by far the most comprehensive and expansive bill that any state has entertained so far. So, yes — you’re seeing the enormity and the comprehensiveness of the law really dictating the process.”
But the process is moving forward. even as the agency takes public comments from residents on the proposed rules for the next two weeks.
Under the bill passed by lawmakers, 17 venues around the state are all given special carve-outs for sports gaming licenses. These include the casinos already operating in Maryland, as well as places such as the Laurel Park horse race track; the Rod N Reel restaurant and resort in Chesapeake Beach, and stadiums such as FedEx Field and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The lottery is already in the process of conducting background checks on those businesses, though in some cases they’re clearly already known entities to the lottery.
“Very, very soon we will open our E-licensing… portal on our website to allow these 17 named applicants to begin to submit their applications,” said Martin. “Any day now we should be in that position to release the e-licensing portal.”
“We are hoping for late fall, early winter, to get as many of these 17 locations up and selling,” he said.
However, to bet in Maryland you would have to go to those locations to wager with cash. Maryland law also granted up to 60 mobile betting licenses – none of them tethered to the 17 Class A licenses. But that process is much further behind, and Martin says it’ll likely be early next year “before we’ll even begin to look at where those potential mobile licenses may be.”
That means that, even though MGM National Harbor or Caesar’s Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, for instance, might get Class A licenses and open sports books later this year, you’d still have to bet with cash in-person there, because their mobile apps will need a separate license.
Obtaining such a license isn’t necessarily guaranteed, but between Caesar’s and MGM’s stature and experience in the gaming business, and the fact that 60 mobile licenses are up for grabs, it’s fair to say they’ll likely get one. It’ll just be a while before you can use them, or any of the other popular apps in other local marketplaces.
Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.
© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.