Online Maryland Sports Betting Goes Live Briefly With Soft Launch
While a full mobile Maryland sports betting launch is not until Wednesday, bettors in the Old Line State can get an early taste of action Monday.
Sportsbooks expecting to start Maryland online sports betting Wednesday are taking bets from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. as part of a small soft launch Monday. There are seven operators preparing for a full-scale debut Wednesday. No betting activity will be available Tuesday.
The seven sportsbooks are:
Full Maryland sports betting launch Wednesday
A flurry of action last week set up the online Maryland sports betting debut in time for Thanksgiving. First, the Sports Wagering Application and Review Commission awarded ten mobile licenses to applicants found qualified with alternative standards in October.
Once the SWARC awarded the licenses, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency continued its work behind the scenes to get online sports betting off the ground.
“Our staff has been in continuous contact with these mobile sports wagering businesses and has already guided them through many of the necessary steps,” MLGCA Director John Martin said in a release. “The last hurdle is for them to have controlled demonstrations, and SWARC’s awards of licenses on Wednesday would clear the way for that to happen.”
According to MLGCA staff last week, three operators opted out of the Thanksgiving week launch: Betfred, Parx Interactive and Fanatics.
Long journey to mobile Maryland betting
Mobile sports betting in Maryland comes more than two years after voters in the state approved of wagering at the ballot box. Lawmakers set up the framework in spring 2021, with Gov. Larry Hogan signing legislation in May 2021.
While retail sports betting began in December 2021, the SWARC has slogged through its duties to get online sports betting regulations and applications set up. The commissioners were also tasked with ensuring diversity within the industry, which required an additional disparity study that pushed the timeline back.
At times, Hogan expressed displeasure with the legislatively created SWARC and its lengthy process. A bureaucratic dam was broken in August, which helped allow the launch to capture at least some of the NFL season.
Additional Maryland sportsbooks coming
Beyond the seven sportsbooks preparing for Wednesday and the three waiting in the wings, there are 11 additional applicants. Those 11 applicants will go through the full MLGCA process in the coming months.
The 21 overall mobile sports betting applicants is well below the 60 available licenses in the state.
There are also six applicants for the 30 available competitive retail licenses. There are eight retail sportsbooks open in Maryland, which have taken nearly $280 million in bets since last December.