ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is urging the commission responsible for sports betting in the state to move quickly to make mobile sports betting a reality before the new NFL season kicks off on September 8.
Hogan sent a letter to the Sports Wagering Application Commission (SWARC) on Wednesday expressing frustration that mobile betting is still not available in his state, nearly two years after voters approved sports wagering in the state.
"Marylanders have grown frustrated waiting for mobile sports wagering as they have watched it become available in state after state across the country, including our neighboring of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. I share their frustration," Hogan's letter reads. "Sports fans in Maryland simply want to be able to place bets on their mobile devices - that's what they voted for and they are angry and discouraged over SWARC's inability to make it happen."
In the letter, Hogan blames the delays on an "an overly-complex piece of legislation that was skewed to appease special interest groups" as well as "bureaucratic hurdles."
Hogan also writes the state is losing money because there are so few physical locations currently accepting sports wagers, and those who want to place bets are traveling outside of the state to do it.
In SWARC's meeting on June 16, Chairman Tom Brandt addressed the governor's letter.
"I understand that many are frustrated that the process relating to the issuance of Maryland's mobile sports wagering licenses has been time consuming," Brandt said. I also want everyone to know that SWARC and its support team have been operating as diligently and deliberately as we can under the Maryland sports wagering law that we're tasked to administer."
Brandt called Maryland's law particularly complex compared to other jurisdictions' laws. Brandt said SWARC is working through all the legal requirements to move forward.
"Based on what we know today, I expect the SWARC applications for mobile sports wagering and additional class B licenses to be published this summer and for SWARC to begin accepting applications shortly thereafter," said Brandt in reference to a timeline.
Meanwhile, the The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) announced that it will open its eLicensing platform on June 17 to all businesses and individuals who wish to pursue Class B sports wagering facility licenses or mobile sports wagering licenses. More information can be found here.
“The MLGCC’s investigations and the SWARC’s application process may not have the same starting point, but it’s always been the plan for them to unfold on parallel tracks,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin in a statement. “Some investigations could take several months, so now is a great opportunity for all potential applicants to get the ball rolling.”
SWARC is authorized to award up to 30 Class B facility licenses and up to 60 mobile licenses.