The state of Maryland is now scheduled to launch sports betting at the end of November, at least in some form of fashion. The latest update from the state of Maryland has some sports bettors questioning how everything is going to work.
Earlier this week, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission announced that it was moving up a meeting in an effort to speed up the process. That meeting is now going to take place on Wednesday, November 16, and licenses will be handed out at that time.
An official launch date is not going to be set as it will be up to the operators to figure out a plan and get their sportsbooks up and running. The latest announcement comes from Governor Larry Hogan, but it came with a surprise.
Sportsbooks that are wanting to launch will have to work with the Maryland Lottery to go through a series of tests. This will require a soft launch, and then those sportsbooks will be shut down again.
The path to online sports betting in Maryland has been extremely difficult to follow, and this latest bit of news is going to make things difficult to follow. The good news is that online sports betting is coming soon, but it won’t come without some hiccups.
Explaining the Process
Maryland is not the first state to require a soft launch, but the Maryland Lottery is only going to allow those sportsbooks to be live for just a short period of time before shutting back down. The SWARC has the ability to grant an initial license to sportsbooks, but the Maryland Lottery is the only group that can give an official license.
More information is expected to be announced by the Maryland Lottery on Thursday, but it’s not likely going to answer all of the questions. The Maryland Lottery has plans to work with each individual sportsbook, and that could end up delaying the process.
Retail sportsbooks in Maryland had to go through the same process, but they weren’t flooded with customers as the online sportsbooks will be.
Sportsbooks Set to Launch
It’s not really going to be a mystery as to what online sportsbooks are expected to be approved by the SWARC. The Maryland Lottery has already suggested what ten operators are clear to be approved, and it will be an impressive list.
The list of sportsbooks that are expected to be in the first wave to launch includes:
Pre-Launch Registration Coming?
At this point in time, there has been no mention of any of the potential Maryland sportsbooks offering a pre-launch bonus. This has been the norm in other states as bettors are counting down the days until launch, and sportsbooks are trying to get them signed up.
This might not be an option in the state of Maryland as sportsbooks are going to try to get to the soft launch as early as possible. Connecticut was able to have a similar process that Maryland was about to have, but there were more rules in place.
Sportsbooks in the state of Connecticut limited the number of sports bettors to just 750 per operator, and that allowed the process to run smoothly. Maryland is set to get some of the top online sportsbooks in the industry, but it will be a new process for all involved.