Maryland, Massachusetts Inch Toward Mobile Sports Betting

Maryland, Massachusetts steps toward legal mobile sports betting

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Maryland gaming officials nudged the state last week closer to legal mobile sports betting possibly by early December.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, authorities agreed to stick with a plan to start on-site sports betting in January and mobile wagering in March.

These states could be two of the next to allow the use of mobile apps for legal sports betting.

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Maryland Regulators Give Nod To Operators

In Maryland, voters approved sports betting in 2020, followed about a year later by the launch of sports betting at casino sportsbooks.

Since then, critics have expressed frustration over the lengthy process to launch mobile betting in Maryland.

The pace was somewhat set by the state’s effort to include smaller minority- and women-owned companies that were underrepresented in the sports betting industry.

Now, after Republican Governor Larry Hogan urged, mobile sports betting appears to be on the horizon.

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On Thursday, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission determined that 10 online sports betting operators qualified for licenses.

At its next scheduled meeting November 21, the commission expects a vote on final approval for these qualified operators. The launch of mobile sports betting could happen a few weeks after the approval, possibly in the first days of December, if not earlier.

That means sports betting starts in time for the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl. This season’s Super Bowl is set for February 12, 2023 in Glendale Arizona. Week to week, NFL games are the most difficult to bet sports events in the county.

Applicants who qualified for mobile licenses this week:

  • Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
  • Hollywood Casino Perryville
  • Maryland Live Hanover
  • MGM National Harbor
  • Greenmount Station Hampstead
  • Long shot Frederick
  • Riverboat on the Potomac
  • Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field Landover
  • Bingo World Brooklyn Park
  • Maryland State Fairgrounds
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Source: The Daily Record

The above applicants are awaiting final approval at the November commission meeting.

Currently, 10 mobile sports operator applicants have been approved. These operators “typically partner with license holders who turn the technology into opportunity” and do not need registration from the commission at the November meeting, according to the Daily Record. These operators are:

  • American Wagering (Caesars Sportsbook)
  • BetFair
  • BetFred
  • BetMGM
  • DraftKings
  • fanatic
  • Parx Interactive
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • PointsBet
  • BetRivers

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Massachusetts on target for 2023 launch

Also this week, gambling regulators in Massachusetts rejected a request by DraftKings to start in-person and mobile sports betting on the same date.

The Boston-based online sportsbook claims that a staggered start gives those who move first an unfair competitive advantage.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission considered DraftKings’ request, but stuck with the staggered start, which was previously agreed to by a 4-0 vote.

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Under that plan, in-person wagering would begin in January 2023 at Casino Sportsbooks, followed by a mobile wagering launch in early March.

The intent of this timeline is to make sports betting available at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in time for the Super Bowl, starting with mobile betting before the NCAA March Madness men’s basketball tournament from March 14th to April 3rd.

At the October meeting, the commission heard from employees who expressed concern that starting sports betting too close to the Super Bowl could create a public safety risk when large crowds interested in betting show up at casinos.

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