When the NFL season kicks off with Week 1 in a few weeks sports bettors in Maryland will have to cross state borders to place their bets.
Getting sports betting going in Maryland remains a work in progress which means it won’t be launched in time for the start of the NFL season. Earlier this week the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission held it’s first meeting.
The Commission is responsible for awarding sports betting licenses based on the rules set under state law. It’s then up to the Maryland Lottery Gaming Control Commission to do background checks and issue the licenses.
[ More Maryland sports betting legalization news and updates ]
One major holdup is that the sports betting rules must still be published in the Maryland Register. Following this publication there is a mandatory 30-day comment period. With the start of the NFL season only three weeks away it will be impossible for licenses to be issued and sportsbooks to be up and running before Week 1 kicks off.
With so much work still to be done, Maryland’s new goal may be to try and get sports betting launched before the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl.
This was the stance taken by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan earlier this month when he told local media, “I pressed them pretty hard about making sure we get it done at least by the end of football season when all the betting takes place, really — in the playoffs and the Super Bowl.”
During the first meeting of the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission this week the Commission went over the basics of their own duties and how the sports betting industry in the state will operate. In their lone action during them meeting the Commission voted to send information about designated licensees directly to the Maryland Lottery Gaming Control Commission instead of reviewing it themselves.
It’s possible theses designated licensees could open retail sportsbooks sometime in the fall. Anyone looking for a license that is not considered a designated licensee, which includes online licenses, could be in for a much longer wait as the Commission still needs to develop a scoring system to award competitive licenses.
Included in the designated licensees are the state’s professional sports stadiums, retail casinos, horse racing venues, and some commercial bingo halls.