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Maryland Officially On Track For Fall Legal Sports Betting Launch

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Maryland Officially On Track For Fall Legal Sports Betting Launch
Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 09, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. Greg Fiume/Getty Images/AFP

It has been a long and complicated road toward legal sports betting in Maryland. But last week’s approval of a set of regulations by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission officially set in motion the next steps toward a long-awaited legal wagering platform for the state.

The idea of a legal sports betting in Maryland started to pick up steam with the voter-approval of such platform on the 2020 Election Ballot. Since then, Governor Larry Hogan has jumped on board, signing sports betting bill into law in May, and regulators have been working through a 228-page proposal, unanimously approving each chapter along the way.

All of the hard work has led to the possibility of Maryland bettors throwing down on their favorite team by fall and the state’s pro sports teams. The Baltimore Ravens, the Washington Football Team (which calls Landover home) and the Baltimore Orioles are finally getting on the same playing field of much of their competition when it comes to sponsorship deals.

Licensing

According to the regulatory wording of the Maryland legal sports betting platform, a total of 40 retail licenses will be available as well as 60 mobile licenses. Competition certainly won’t be a problem for Maryland bettors.

There will be four tiers of retail licensing – 10 Class A licenses, which will be divided into two categories, will go to the state’s casinos, current professional sports franchises, and horse tracks and 30 Class B licenses which will also be divided into two categories will be set aside for such institutions as Maryland State Fairgrounds.

Retail providers will pay between $50,000 and $2 million for applications and will cough up between $75,000 and $6 million as a bond.

As for the mobile licensing process, there will be a total of 60 permits available and registration for one of the state’s apps will be both in-person and remote. Applications fees will be between $500,000 and $1.5 million and a $1.5 million bond will be required.

The tax rate for the Maryland legal sports betting industry has been set at 15%.

Expectations for the Market

Maryland is not the biggest market coming into the US legal sports betting fold, but it is expected to hold its own. Home to the country’s 19th largest population with nearly 6.2 million residents, it will likely be the three pro sports teams that call the state home, the high-profile college programs in the state and the rabid fanbase that exists that helps the market possibly elevate and maintain a top-10 bet-friendly standing.

MGM Resorts and Caesars already have a presence in the state, Penn National has purchased a casino in the state, PointsBet has aligned with Riverboat on the Potomac and Barstool Sportsbook is widely expected to pursue the Maryland market.

The Baltimore Ravens already has a sports betting partnership in place with BetMGM and the Washington Football Team has signed on with one of the two DFS giants-turned sports betting provider behemoths. It is expected that the Baltimore Orioles won’t be far behind.

What’s Next?

Now that the set of regulations has been approved by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, the draft set of rules will now be sent to the Maryland General Assembly Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review for further scrutiny.

After that, the Maryland Register will publish the draft set of rules prior to a public consultation period that is expected to last 30 days. Hopeful providers are still awaiting the application submission guidelines from the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission. They are expected anytime.

Then, and only then will providers start to submit applications for consideration.

Who and When

With a ton of legal sports betting licenses available, there is expected to be no shortage of top-tier providers lining up for one of the coveted Maryland licenses. BetMGM, the two DFS giants-turned sports betting providers, and PointsBet have already been mentioned as interested parties.

With the hurdles still to clear, launching prior to the upcoming NFL season looks like a pipedream at this point in time. It is more reasonable to expect a robust market to go live perhaps in the middle of the NFL season or certainly by the end of the year at the latest.

So, buckle up Maryland bettors. The need to hit up an overseas sportsbook or travel across state lines to throw down on your favorite team is quickly coming to an end.