After a meeting held on Tuesday, the state of Maryland has decided to start accepting applications from some potential sports betting hosts, including casinos, professional sports teams and race tracks. The director of the agency responsible for screening applicants said betting could start “late this fall, or early this winter”, as reported by the Baltimore Business Journal.
For the time being, only entities that were specifically named in the state’s sports betting legislation, which was passed this spring, are eligible to submit applications through the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s eLicensing platform, launched on September 14.
The Commission plans to accelerate the application process by allowing interim licenses for applicants who already have sports wagering licenses in other states with similar background investigation standards. These license holders will still be required to pass both a criminal and financial background check, with their license being revoked should a problem arise during the investigation.
They will also have to pass an initial suitability review by the newly formed Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC).
State regulators are currently working with 17 entities on background check investigations before granting the licenses, according to the Director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission, John Martin.
Along with the 17 assigned licenses, Maryland’s sports betting bill will award up to 30 additional retail and 60 online sportsbooks to state businesses. The 17 entities already allowed to apply for licensure will need final approval from the SWARC before going live.
The named entities include five off-track betting facilities and two bingo halls, aside from Maryland’s six casinos, two race tracks and three sports stadiums. A spokeswoman for the Commission, Carole Gentry, said that three potential sports betting hosts had submitted their applications on Tuesday.
Among the early applicants is the Live Casino & Hotel. Rob Norton, president of the Cordish Gaming Group, which developed and operates the Hanover casino, said last week that Live had already completed and submitted its application for a retail sportsbook.