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Maryland sports betting regulator opens licensing window

Maryland sports betting news - launch legal online betting

Maryland sports betting is edging closer to an official launch after the state regulator green-lighted 17 entities to apply for licenses to operate retail wagering outlets.

Last Tuesday, the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) announced that it had opened its online licensing portal, setting the stage for 17 establishments to submit applications for retail sportsbooks. The locations, which were named in the state’s sports betting legislation, were approved by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) in August.

According to the state regulator, those okayed by the SWARC could be cleared to start accepting in-person bets as early as this fall.

In addition to these 17 entities named in the Sports Wagering Law, the state regulator and SWARC are also expected to award additional 30 Class B-2 permits to small and minority-owned businesses through a competitive bidding process, as well as 60 online licenses. The online operators will team up with Class A and Class B permit holders to run mobile betting platforms in the state.

However, the application window for the additional Class B and online licenses will not open until the MLGCC finalizes regulations for operators.

Who can apply for a Maryland sports betting license?

The MD Sports Wagering Act authorizes 17 establishments in the state to apply for Class A and B retail permits. These businesses include professional sports teams and stadiums, casinos, off-track betting parlors, thoroughbred horse racing tracks, bingo halls, and the Maryland State fairgrounds.

Below is a list of the eligible businesses.

Class A permits

  • Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium – Class A-1
  • Washington Football Teams’ FedEx Field Stadium – Class A-1
  • Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles – Class A-1
  • Live! Casino & Hotel – Class A-1
  • MGM National Harbor – Class A-1
  • Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore – Class A-1
  • Hollywood Casino in Perryville – Class A-2
  • Flintstone-based Rocky Gap Casino Resort – Class A-2
  • Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin – Class A-2
  • Maryland Jockey Club tracks (Laurel Park and Pimlico Park) – to share 1 Class A-2 permit

Class B permits

  • Riverboat on the Potomac
  • Maryland State Fairgrounds
  • Greenmount Station in Hampstead
  • Long Shot’s in Frederick
  • The Jockey Bar and Grille in Boonsboro
  • Rod ‘N’ Reel
  • Bingo World

The cost of entering the state’s regulated market is $2 million for Class A-1 permits and $1 million for A-2 licenses. In addition to the initial permit fees, the businesses will pay license bonds of $6 million and $3 million for A-1 and A-2 licenses, respectively. Those who receive Class B-2 permits like the Maryland State fairgrounds will part with $250,000 in application fees and a $750,000 bond.

Also, authorized retail operators will be required to pay an additional $500,000 to be allowed to offer online wagering.

MLGCC to hold public hearing on sports betting rules

The Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission has also announced that it will hold a public hearing for the proposed sports wagering rules on September 22.

The proposed rules, which were published in the state register on August 27, have to undergo a 30-day comment period before final approval. The Wednesday hearing will allow interested parties like residents and businesses seeking to enter the Maryland sports betting market to give their views and opinions on the proposed regulations.

However, the online comment period will run until Monday, September 27, which is when the 30-day window will end. The regulator will publish the final rules after this period.

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