Maryland still waiting on sports betting launch date 16 months after passing law

Due diligence is one thing, but prospective Maryland sports bettors are questioning what exactly is taking so long in launching betting in the state. The state first confirmed its support for legal betting back in 2020, when a public vote went in favor of allowing residents to bet on sporting events, and the state legislature approved legislation in May of 2021, with the state Governor signing it off on the 18th of that month. Since then, movement has been glacial.

Let’s bear in mind that, when Kansas approved legislation at state level, it happened earlier this year and more than one calendar year after Maryland. Since then, Kansas has drawn up full laws and licensing, launched legal sports betting platforms, and has now been taking bets for more than a month. At present, Maryland has not got as far as confirming when betting will actually go live.

In a surprising recent move, the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), has published comments that it received from residents responding to an open feedback period – and the general tone of the remarks has been less than warm, most of it questioning why it’s taking so long to get anything done. Recent changes in the application process have been made with a view to expediting what’s left of the waiting period, but we’re still unable to say exactly when the first bets will be placed.

This may change soon: the application process for sportsbook licensing will conclude in the coming days, and there will then be 45 days in which the applications will be reviewed and licenses issued. After that, there won’t be much left to do, leaving open the possibility that sportsbooks could be taking bets by the end of this year, although this remains a speculative point as of right now.

On September 22nd, it was announced that sportsbooks could set up on a rolling basis, meaning that they would be in position to go live once licenses were granted. It is expected that the bigger sportsbooks in the frame will be among the first to be able to do this and, with their readiness to move combined with the timeframe for licensing, we would expect a nearly-imminent announcement on the definitive date when online betting comes to Maryland. At this point, though, locals will take a lot of convincing that anything is going to happen quickly.

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