Maryland set for November 23 online sports betting launch with up to seven operators

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Maryland’s first online sportsbooks are set to launch Nov. 23 after clearing all final regulatory approvals following several years of licensing reviews.

Seven mobile operators are set to go live Nov. 23; DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, Barstool, PointsBet and BetRivers. The operators will have a soft testing launch Nov. 21 before a full launch two days later.

“With an active sports season currently underway, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to launch our top-rated sportsbook app in Maryland,” said Matt Kalish, DraftKings Co-Founder and President, in a statement Friday announcing his company’s Maryland sports betting launch plans.

FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings have more than 80% of the US sports betting market share by gross gaming revenue and are expected to be market leaders in Maryland as well. FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars already operate retail sportsbooks at Maryland casinos and DraftKings is set to open a book at the Maryland State Fairgrounds next year.

Barstool, PointsBet and BetRivers also run retail sportsbooks in the state. Each already runs mobile sports betting platforms in 10 or more other states.

Betfred, betPARX and the future Fanatics sportsbook also earned online sports betting licenses earlier this week but will not go live Nov. 23, state regulators said Thursday. There’s no timeline for when any of them will start accepting bets.

State regulators said earlier in the week that there are 11 more operators that have also applied to launch mobile sportsbooks in the state. Officials didn’t publicly announce any operators in the next tranche of applicants, but it likely includes SuperBook, which has partnered with the Baltimore Orioles and announced plans to launch mobile wagering in Maryland.

The Nov. 23 launch will allow Maryland’s first legal sportsbooks to capture all of the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The four days include the traditional Thanksgiving Day NFL games, a full slate of college football rivalry games, multiple college basketball tournaments as well as matches in the first-ever fall World Cup, including the US national team’s match with England Friday.

Next week’s go-live date comes more than two years after Maryland voters technically legalized retail and mobile sports betting by amending the state constitution to permit sportsbooks via the state’s November 2020 ballot. Gov. Larry Hogan signed ensuing regulatory legislation six months later, but it took regulators an additional 18 months to issue licenses.

Both the ballot referendum and the ensuing legislation required regulators to consider minority, women and small-business ownership stakes when issuing licenses, in addition to a host of other requirements. This led to the creation of an additional regulatory body, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, to review applicants in addition to the existing Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

The state’s regulatory bodies also waited for the completion of a lengthy disparity study before awarding licenses. This further delayed what was already a long and complex review process.

During the online licensing review regulators did approve the state’s first retail sportsbooks, which opened at five of the state’s six commercial casinos in December 2021. Three more in-person betting options in Maryland have since opened, with several more expected to open in the coming months. That includes a Fanatics-branded retail book adjacent to the Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field, which will be the second retail book on an NFL stadium property following the Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium.

Maryland’s 18-month wait from sports betting legalization bill signing to first online sports betting license issuance is the longest of any of the more than 20 states with mobile wagering. Kansas, which was the most recent state to start legal mobile sports betting, launched its first books less than five months after the state’s legalization bill was signed into law.

About the author

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Ryan Butler

Ryan is a veteran sports betting and iGaming regulation and breaking news journalist based in the US. A two-time Associated Press Sports Editors award winner, he has reported on sports and politics since 2012. He has covered the gaming industry since 2018. Ryan graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Journalism and a minor in Sport Management.

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