Mobile betting in Maryland still pretty far off

This month Maryland started allowing five casinos to start taking cash wagers on sporting events, with three more venues looking to get in the game in early 2022. But unlike in D.C. or Virginia, all legal wagers placed in Maryland have to be made with cash and it doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon.

“We’re anxious to see that up and running as well,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on the day MGM National Harbor started taking bets.

Hogan and his staff have repeatedly expressed frustration at the slow rollout of sports betting since it was legalized earlier this year.

“It’s been a gradual process here in Maryland,” said Hogan. “It started with slot machines, eventually moved to table games, now it’s sports betting in facilities and the next step is going to be the mobile betting as well.”

“I would imagine that’s going to be the biggest impact, yes,” added the governor.

Throughout most of the country, betting on sporting events through mobile devices is the preferred method. In Virginia, where mobile betting is the only form of sports wagering, more than $14 million in tax revenue was generated from Jan. 1 through Oct. 31 this year.

But with Maryland’s focus on vetting and approving venues that are assured of on-site betting licenses by law in the coming months, before moving to other venues that want to get in on the action, mobile betting seems pretty far off.

“Those of us on the inside who are looking at it objectively realize that it would be nice to aim for football season of 2022, September,” said John Martin, the director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

“Regulations haven’t been written yet. Application processes haven’t been identified yet. Applications then have to come in, then be reviewed, then we go through our normal vetting and qualification process. So yeah it’s going to take several months,” he said.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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