Sports Gaming Panel rejects Hogan’s call to revive mobile betting

Thomas Brandt, a Hogan-appointed member of the Sports Betting Applications Review Panel, speaks at the start of Thursday’s meeting. Screenshot.

The commission charged with evaluating sports betting apps has rejected Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s request for faster action to introduce mobile betting in Maryland.

Thomas Brandt Jr., a Hogan-appointed member of the Sports Betting Applications Review Commission (SWARC), defended the process the panel adopted to review companies vying to provide mobile betting opportunities to fans of sports here.

“I understand that many are frustrated that the process for issuing Maryland’s mobile sports betting licenses has taken a long time,” Brandt, the panel’s chairman, said Thursday. “I also want everyone to know that SWARC and its support team acted with as much diligence and deliberation as possible under the Maryland sports betting law that we are responsible for administering.”

Brandt’s comments came a day after Hogan (R) demanded that the commission “immediately accelerate and intensify” its efforts to grant mobile licenses. The governor said residents were “frustrated” that neighboring states allow bettors to place bets on their electronic devices, but Maryland does not. He called on the panel to make mobile betting operational in early September when the NFL season kicks off.

“With only five physical locations in the state currently accepting sports betting, Maryland is losing tens of millions of dollars in economic investment and education revenue that should be going to our public schools and students,” wrote the governor in a letter dated June 14. “The time for deliberations has passed.”

Speaking at the start of SWARC’s monthly meeting on Thursday, Brandt called Maryland’s new sports betting law “particularly complex because – unlike any other jurisdiction – there is a significant and deliberate effort to allow small minority-owned businesses to have stakes and participate in the growth of the new sports betting industry.

Hogan urged the commission to “prioritize” the granting of mobile licenses to casinos, racetracks and sports teams identified in legislation approved by the General Assembly. He also called for a “firm and transparent timeline” for the launch of mobile betting as well as an expedited process that would allow “experienced gaming operators who are already licensed for mobile betting in many other states” to begin accepting bets. paris in Maryland.

(Giant national companies such as FanDuel, Draft Kings and Points Bet operate in most states where sports betting is legal, but not here.)

The commission did not publicly consider those requests on Thursday. But he passed a Hogan request to release both the draft version of the lengthy application that companies will need to complete and the regulations that will govern electronic betting here. Brandt said he would ask the commission to release interim information “in the coming weeks.”

Additionally, the Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency has decided to allow mobile betting companies access to its “e-licensing” system beginning Friday, said James R. Nielsen, chief operating officer of the ‘agency.

“We have seen firsthand that some people are unprepared for the depth of our investigations, and this can delay their license applications,” he said.

BetMGM Sportsbook screens in National Harbor in December show odds on dozens of sporting events. Photo by Bruce DePuyt.

John A. Martin, director of the agency, conceded in an interview that bettors are unlikely to have access to mobile betting platforms by the start of the NFL season. “September is very ambitious,” which he said is why they’re opening the e-licensing portal on Friday.

A national betting site characterized Maryland’s delay in launching mobile betting as the “longest” in the country. This distinction seems unlikely to change.

“If it’s before September 8, great,” added Martin. “If it’s October/November/December, it doesn’t matter when, we’ll be ready to go, and it won’t be for lack of effort…”

Five casinos currently offer on-site sports betting in Maryland. Three off-track betting sites and a bingo hall have been granted licenses and are in the process of ramping up operations, including the “controlled demonstrations” that are required before they are allowed to launch.

Commission member Laura Gamble asked Brandt if he intended to respond in writing to Hogan’s letter. He said no.

“Because this is a public meeting and everything we do seems to be communicated, I assumed that [my opening statement] served as sufficient ‘for the record’,” Brandt said. “A lot of other people were also listening to us today.”

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