While other states have ushered in legal sports betting in time for the 21-22 NFL season, Maryland remains behind the pack. The thing is, Maryland passed its sports betting legislation much earlier than Arizona or Connecticut—SB4 was approved in November 2020.
The Hold Up In Maryland
Maryland lawmakers and gaming officials say that they have been working hard to bring sports betting to MD residents. Even so, progress for the Old Line State continues to stagnate.
Last week, Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) was supposed to have a meeting with three of the state’s prospective sportsbook operators.
The meeting was postponed on short notice without an explanation. As of now, Maryland sports bettors seem to be completely out of the loop as to when there will be open access to domestic sportsbooks.
Maryland’s sportsbook licensing process is tricky as it requires collaboration between multiple committees and organizations.
First, guidelines and rules for operation have to be sorted out by a team of state legislators and gaming officials before applications can go live.
Then applications for sportsbooks must be approved by the SWARC board.
Finally, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) processes the SWARC approvals and distributes the domestic sportsbook licenses.
Excuses and Delays Continue
Nonetheless, the process is one that every legal sports betting state has had to go through. If anything, Maryland has endured far fewer complications than some of its neighboring states as lawmakers did not have to negotiate a tribal compact.
It seems that officials are running out of excuses for not having kicked off MD sports betting and lawmakers are beginning to agree. The state’s governor recently tweeted a call to action urging residents to pressure SWARC into action.
Our administration recently approved the first three locations for sports wagering in Maryland.
Tell the legislature’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to allow football season betting to begin: firstname.lastname@example.org://t.co/lV7MUxgSkQ
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) October 8, 2021
To emphasize the absurdity of these delays, readers should remember that Maryland is only focused on retail betting at this moment. It has taken MD almost a year to do what over states have done in less than six months.
And if that sounds disappointing, that’s because it is.
Patience Is Only A Virtue For So Long
Perhaps gaming officials felt that they could coast through this process. Residents technically have access to domestic sports betting under the condition that they travel to Washington D.C.
Even so, Maryland lawmakers made a commitment to their constituents upon approving SB4. Time and time again, gaming officials are unable to keep their word.
These delays are unfair to residents who can’t afford to take a vacation every time they want to bet on the Ravens. However, these folks aren’t yet out of luck!
Offshore online sportsbooks have been around for several decades and have proven to be just as safe as domestic sportsbooks.
If your state is withholding domestic betting, you have no obligation to sit out on the fun, especially in the middle of the NFL season.
Source: Saturday Tradition