When Baltimore’s state legislature OKed sports betting, there were some mixed messages coming out of Maryland as to when sports fans in the state would be able to place bets. While one prominent supporter of the legislation said it was “everybody’s hope” that betting would begin by the end of the year, the leaders of the state’s new Gambling Commission urged caution. They spoke of “months rather than weeks” and gave a strong impression that betting platforms would go live only when they were confident all of the loose ends had been tied up – with the unspoken suggestion that it would be 2023 before a bet was placed.
First things first: the “loose ends” which need to be tied up include, perhaps most importantly, the review of applications for sports betting licenses and the granting of those licenses. Once applications close, there will be a period of 45 days for evaluation and issuing, and as of this moment, it is expected that the 45-day period will begin in mid-October. This means that licensing could be completed by the early stages of December, which leaves room for a potential December launch, in time to include the final weeks of the NFL regular season.
While no guarantees have been given either way, the consensus currently bubbling around the provision of sports betting is that early investigations have gone well, and that there are not expected to be major hold-ups in the necessary processes to launch live betting. Baltimore gambling commissioners were clear from the start that they wanted to do things right more than they wanted to get betting out there quickly. Signs are that it may be possible to do both, or at least to do things quickly enough to ensure that betting launches in 2022.
This positive news follows on the heels of the earlier-than-expected launch of sports betting in Kansas, which had been mooted for any time in the last few months of the year. With a fair wind, the state was able to soft-launch its sports betting platforms at the beginning of September, in time for the NFL season’s kick-off, which came this past weekend.
States are, at the current time, seemingly following a pattern of underlining caution when the initial legislation is rubber-stamped by Governors, and then working hard to deliver early on their cautious estimates. Should Baltimore follow that pattern, then there is certainly no reason to believe it’s out of the question to have betting in the state for the final weeks of the NFL regular season.