While retail sports betting launched in December of last year, no online licensees have yet been granted, with the process facing an indeterminate timeframe for completion.
The approval of the draft regulations by SWARC in its July meeting is an important step forward but there is still work to be done before online sportsbook launch.
The regulations will need to be sent to a legislative review commission followed by a 30-day period of public review. In addition, the final regulations will have to be published by the Maryland register.
Currently, operators interested in launching their online and mobile offerings in the state can apply on the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) to submit themselves to the mandatory background checks.
The MLGCA must clear an operator before SWARC can award it a licence.
In June, Maryland governor, Larry Hogan, mounted pressure on SWARC to finalise the regulations in time for the launch of the NFL season on 8 September – noting the long and bureaucratic process from May 2021 when he signed HB 940 into law to permit sports betting.
“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 neighbouring jurisdictions of Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington DC,” said the governor.
“I share their frustration, and I call upon you to immediately take the steps that I have outlined.”