(The Center Square) – The National Football League is entering its seventh week of play, and it’s still uncertain if Maryland residents will be able to bet in person on games before the 18-week season ends in January.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission qualified two new casinos for sports wagering licenses – Hollywood Casino in Perryville and Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, according to Gov. Larry Hogan.
“No one is pushing harder than I am to get sports betting up and running here in the State of Maryland,” Hogan said in a statement. “Our administration has now cleared five licenses for sports betting, implementing the referendum approved by voters and the law passed by the General Assembly. With Marylanders looking forward to betting on the NFL and March Madness, we now expect the legislature’s Sports Wagering Applicant Review Commission to swiftly approve these licenses.”
It’s not the first time Hogan has called out the review commission on the licensing process. In a tweet posted Oct. 8, the governor said: “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.” Hogan ended the tweet with an email address for the committee.
No one is pushing harder than I am to get sports betting up and running here in the State of Maryland. My full statement following @MDLottery determining that Hollywood Casino and Ocean Downs Casino qualify for sports wagering licenses: pic.twitter.com/fkG7sLFc61— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) October 21, 2021
The law requires the review commission to approve the licenses, but the panel hasn’t met since Sept. 21 and canceled a scheduled Oct. 14 meeting.
The five facilities qualified by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission are waiting on the review commission, according to an email from Seth Elkin, the agency’s assistant director of communications for public affairs.
“We do not know the date of the SWARC's next meeting,” Elkin said in the email. “It is not possible to provide a timeframe when sports wagering will launch. Maryland Lottery and Gaming is working to make it happen as soon as possible.”
According to the Lottery and Gaming Commission’s website, “For a business that is not named in the Sports Wagering Law, the review by SWARC and a licensing background investigation could take between 12 and 24 months from May 2021.”
Maryland voters approved sports wagering in November 2020. Lawmakers passed a bill in April giving Maryland Lottery and Gaming the go-ahead to develop. Gov. Larry Hogan signed that bill into law on May 18.