Md. OK’s 10 mobile sports betting licenses, hopes betting can start day before Thanksgiving

It took “a while,” said Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission Chair Tom Brandt. But after months of continuing pressure from Gov. Larry Hogan, it only took an hour for the commission to approve the state’s first 10 mobile sports betting licenses.

WTOP has learned that the goal is to have mobile betting launched by Wednesday, Nov. 23.

The 10 entities cleared to get ready to start taking bets online are:

  • Arundel Amusements (Bingo World)
  • BetMGM Maryland Sports LLC
  • Crown MD Online Gaming LLC (DraftKings)
  • CZR Maryland Mobile Opportunity LLC (Horseshoe Casino Baltimore)
  • Greenmount OTB LLC
  • Long Shot’s LLC
  • Maryland Stadium Sub LLC (Washington Commanders)
  • PENN Maryland OSB LLC (Hollywood Casino Perryville)
  • PPE Maryland Mobile LLC (Live! Casino and Hotel)
  • Riverboat on the Potomac LLC

The review Wednesday in Baltimore was relatively quick and drama-free. Up next, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency will make sure, essentially, that those companies have their technological ducks in a row.

“We have to make sure that the control systems are in place,” said John Martin, the director of the MLGCA. “That the back office systems are in place. That geolocation is in place, particularly on a mobile platform, so people in Maryland are betting from within the state boundary. All of these things have to be tested on a mobile platform.”

Martin said that earlier this fall, after Kansas approved sports betting, lots of football fans just across the border in Kansas City, Missouri, tried to make wagers from outside the state, hoping they would be considered close enough. It didn’t work.

Martin added that MLGCA has planned ahead, and teams are ready to conduct the necessary testing. He said the fact that the entities involved are already well-known and experienced in the business should make next week’s process a smooth one.

Assuming all of that goes well, “by Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, we should be able to start and launch mobile betting,” said Martin.

After that, there are 11 applications from other companies hoping to obtain a license to take mobile sports wagers. Six businesses from around the state are also looking at obtaining a Class B license to host on-site betting, and some of them could get the necessary approvals by the time the SWARC panel meets again in mid-December. Others might need until the spring to meet all the requirements.

“The intent is to get all of those original 21 mobile applicants up and running, so by this time next year everyone is up and running,” said Martin. If that happens, he said, he expected about $25 million to $30 million of tax money a year for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future fund.

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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