BALTIMORE (AP) — Sports wagering in Maryland is now authorized thanks to a 2020 ballot initiative and a 2021 law, but it may be until 2022 that gamblers get to make their bets on games.
Two state agencies are now carrying out the details that will lead to issuing licenses to companies approved to offer the gambling, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Some sports gambling proponents had hoped to get the industry operating for the NFL and college football seasons. Now it could happen before those seasons end.
“We’re looking at late fall, early winter. It is our intent to expedite the process as efficiently as we can to get us there,” said John Martin, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. “We’re still very much pushing for football season.”
Martin’s agency has proposed over 200 pages of governing regulations, which include the records that gambling operators must maintain and the types of bets that will be allowed. A public hearing on those rules is set for Sept. 22.
Meanwhile, the Lottery and Gaming Control Agency is using emergency regulations to move forward on applications for licenses.
Some in-person licenses are set aside for the state’s six casinos, the thoroughbred horse racing tracks in Laurel and Baltimore and the professional sports stadiums in the state that are home to the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Football Team.
Casinos are expected to apply first. An online application process expected to open soon will include investigations into the casinos’ financial and security plans.
The new Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which has the final say on awarding licenses, will receive applications that pass the gaming agency’s background investigations.
It’s likely to take well into 2022 before competitive brick-and-mortar and online sports betting licenses are issued, acccording to the newspaper.
Sen. Craig Zucker, a Montgomery County Democrat who’s been heavily involved in advancing sports betting in Maryland, said he’s optimistic at least some gambling will be in place later in the fall, and certainly in time for the Super Bowl.
“I feel like the sooner the better, but we’ve got to make sure we do it right and do it in a transparent and inclusive way,” Zucker said.
Sports gambling companies will pay a 15% tax on their proceeds, going largely to public education. State government could bring in about $15 million annually once the industry is fully up and running, the newspaper reports.
Some license application fees from the first applicants will be earmarked to help small businesses and minority- and women-owned businesses get into the industry.