The era of mobile sports gaming in Maryland dawns on Wednesday. Beginning at 9 a.m., Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday, gamblers will have their choice of seven mobile apps — a field that includes several industry leaders that are already active in dozens of other states.
Marylanders have been able to place legal wagers on sporting events at casinos and other venues for nearly a year. But Wednesday will represent a breakthrough moment for an activity that has long existed in the shadows.
Instead of calling a local bookie or placing a wager on a website based offshore — with few, if any, consumer protections — bettors as of Wednesday will need only to whip out their mobile device, at any hour of the day or night, and open their preferred app.
“This process took longer than it should have, but we’re excited that this launch is in time for fans to place their bets on all the Thanksgiving Day NFL action, college football rivalry weekend, this week’s slate of NBA games, the 2022 World Cup and this Sunday’s Ravens and Commanders games,” Hogan said.
Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application and Review Commission cleared 10 operators at its meeting last week, but only seven completed the final testing and performance hurdles needed to be ready on Day 1.
The seven are:
- Barstool Sportsbook (operator for PENN Maryland/Hollywood Casino)
- BetMGM (operator for BetMGM Maryland Sports/MGM National Harbor)
- BetRivers (operator for Arundel Amusements/Bingo World in Brooklyn Park)
- Caesars Sportsbook (operator for CZR Maryland Mobile Opportunity/Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore)
- DraftKings (operator for Crown MD Online Gaming)
- FanDuel (operator for PPE Maryland Mobile/Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover)
- PointsBet (operator for Riverboat on the Potomac in Charles County)
The three that are expected to receive the final all-clear in the days ahead are: BetFred (operator for Long Shot’s in Frederick); BetParx (operator for Greenmount Station in Hampstead); and Fanatics (operator for Maryland Stadium Sub/Washington Commanders in Landover).
The launch of mobile sports wagering is certain to trigger an avalanche of marketing and advertising, as sportsbooks compete to be one of the first apps downloaded by individual bettors. Many of the deep-pocketed firms offer large incentives, including wagers cast as “risk-free,” to grow their customer base.
Applications from 11 additional mobile wagering operators are undergoing review, said John Martin, the director of the State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency. He expects Maryland will eventually have 21 mobile licensees and between 15 and 20 facilities where bets can be placed.
Corporate profits from mobile sports betting will be taxed at 15%. Individual winnings will be subject to the same tax liability they would face with more traditional income.
Hogan said mobile wagering is expected to generate up to $30 million in 2023, climbing to $100 million by 2027. Revenues that reach the state treasury will fund the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, an educational program.
All Maryland-approved apps will deploy geo-fencing, to exclude people who are outside the state’s geographic boundaries. Beyond that, there are no limitations. A bettor watching games at one operator’s sportsbook would be free to place a wager on a competitor’s platform, for example.
Although Hogan placed bets at a handful of casinos on the day sports wagering launched in 2021, he did not place an online wager on Tuesday.
While major league sports generate the most interest, bettors will have a dizzying array of competitions on which to tempt fate — including the Olympics, beach volleyball, table tennis, snooker, rodeo, darts, Jai-Alai, along with dozens of other options. Betting on sports overseen by Russian and Belarus authorities will not be allowed.