Maryland gaming regulators approve 10 mobile sportsbooks

Published on: November 16, 2022, 11:29 am.

Last updated: November 16, 2022, 11:31 am.

The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) approved its initial batch of online sportsbooks this morning, with several notable candidates deemed suitable in the Old Line State, including DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM.

Maryland online sports betting SWARC sports betting
The Maryland Sports Betting Application Review Commission meets in Baltimore on November 16, 2022. The state gaming agency has approved 10 applicants for online sports betting licenses. (Image: Twitter)

SWARC officials have confirmed that Barstool Sportsbook, Betfred, BetMGM, betPARX, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel and PointsBet have been designated as permitted online sportsbooks. The 10 platforms will now undergo a controlled demonstration of their operations monitored by Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) staff.

Once the MLGCC determines that an operator’s processes meet the state’s regulatory standards, the platform will be allowed to begin offering real money bets from the public. Among state gambling officials, they hope to have the applications up and running next week.

Minority Distribution Major Obstacle

SWARC was given the difficult task of launching mobile sports betting applications, but issuing them in a diverse and fair manner. That’s how state lawmakers wrote Maryland’s sports betting law, which SWARC blamed for the long delay in allowing online sports gambling to begin.

The language of the law was challenging, and our committee took seriously its intent to allow diverse participation in this new industry,” SWARC President Tom Brandt said during Wednesday’s meeting.

“SWARC was required to await the outcome of an industry review before it could issue regulations and invite competitive applications. So it took us a while to get to this point. I am grateful to everyone involved for going out of their way to measure twice and cut once,” added Brandt.

Faced with much criticism for the seemingly slow path to online sports betting, SWARC won legislative approval in September to speed up the process. The General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review said SWARC could drop pending the results of a third-party “disparity analysis” of Maryland’s current gambling industry.

This decision allowed SWARC to start issuing online sports betting concessions to applicants deemed suitable for the licence. SWARC instead opted to amend its qualification criteria to require each state-licensed online bookmaker to submit a diversity plan to the MLGCC and make annual commitments to improve its diversity score.

Cordish caters to diversity

Baltimore-based Cordish Companies is entering the online sports gambling space in Maryland with its flagship casino property Maryland Live! Hotel Casino. Cordish has come up with an ownership arrangement for its online business that will apparently appease SWARC.

Cordish partnered with FanDuel for its live sports betting business at its Hanover casino. The company is leveraging its FanDuel partnership for its future online sports betting business and issuing certain shares to team members in the sports betting app.

Cordish said this morning, approximately 90 Cordish employees working in Maryland exercised their option to purchase shares equivalent to a 10% stake in the company’s online sports betting license. The ownership arrangement, Cordish says, will provide “significant economic benefit to a diverse group” of Live! workers “who have shown their loyalty to Cordish through long tenures with the company.”

“When we evaluated how we should meet the state requirements for this license, there was no question that this was the right way to go. We are grateful that so many team members, from casino shift managers to managers who run our hotels and food and beverage operations, want to be a part of this venture with us,” commented Rob Norton, President of Cordish Gaming.

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