By Tyler Wombles
As states across the country launch mobile sports betting, Maryland could be one of the next, as it already has launched retail sports gambling. Just how many Maryland mobile betting sites could bettors see in the state?
Bettors will want to use mobile apps to take advantage of Maryland sports betting bonuses, and while there’s still not an official answer to how many apps will launch here, or when, what’s transpired in other areas may give some clues. States nationwide are handing out licenses and instituting online betting as companies flock to push their mobile platforms.
So once sports betting officially launches in the Terrapin State, how many Maryland mobile betting apps could we see?
Up to 60 licenses could be granted
What will ultimately determine how many apps come to Maryland is how many licenses regulators grant, and there are plenty to go around.
As has been the process in other states, officials have to grant licenses to mobile sports betting operators before they can launch and operate in Maryland. Up to 60 licenses have been approved for Maryland, so dozens of betting apps ultimately could come to the Terrapin State.
“We are moving quickly to look at the mobile landscape, but we have to put together regulations and get those approved by a series of internal checks and balances first,” said John Martin, director of Maryland’s Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, according to Bloomberg Tax.
“The process has just begun. I expect we’ll start taking applications in the spring, review them in the winter and hopefully get online going by Fall 2022.”
With online sports betting booming in states across the country, those licenses will likely be hot commodities for operators hoping to move their platforms into Maryland. It’s hard to know if they will all be filled, but companies are sure to hurriedly send in applications as soon as possible in the hopes of setting up shop in the state.
Five major apps are expected
While it still isn’t known exactly how many apps will launch in Maryland, five of the major players in the industry are expected to join the party.
BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook and PointsBet are all anticipated to launch in Maryland once sports betting becomes available because they already have a physical presence there.
BetMGM is partnered with MGM National Harbor, a major casino operating in Maryland, and FanDuel Sportsbook is associated with Maryland Live! Casino and Hotel. Caesars Sportsbook partners with Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, while PointsBet is associated with Riverboat on the Potomac and Barstool Sportsbook partners with Hollywood Casino Perryville.
Since each of those companies already have retail sportsbooks open, it’s easy to see them simply launching their mobile app counterparts in Maryland. That would be huge for in-state bettors, allowing them to wager either at a physical sportsbook or remotely with some of the biggest names in the game.
If the major apps have success in Maryland, expect smaller, more independent betting companies to want to cash in, too. They may plant their flags in the state to try and steal a piece of the betting market there away from the big platforms.
That means there should be plenty of apps for Maryland residents to choose from once everything is up and running.
Mobile betting boom could impact number
When Maryland launches mobile sports betting, it will just be the latest in a long line of states opening themselves to the industry.
One reason legislators are opting for sports betting is because of the economic incentives it can bring to communities. Gambling operators are usually taxed by the local government, bringing in money for public works.
Illinois, which has already raked in tons of cash through retail gambling, recently legalized mobile registration for sports betting. Rep. Mike Zalewski said the “law continues to generate millions of dollars for new universities, schools and libraries for our citizens and with a fully integrated network, the numbers will only improve,” according to The Chicago Sun-Times.
In Louisiana, which recently launched mobile betting, 3.6% of the population used an app to place a bet during its opening weekend of Jan. 28-30, The Natchitoches Times reported. That is a higher number than in New York and Tennessee, which also have legalized mobile sports betting, according to the newspaper.
And the success of mobile betting in other states could affect how many apps we see in Maryland. Lawmakers may be more welcoming in accepting applications if they see the positives the industry could bring to the state, and more companies will want a piece of the action in Maryland if they have seen success elsewhere.