Maryland officials vote to speed up licensing process for mobile sports betting operators

If you’d have talked to Maryland Lottery officials a few months ago, they were hopeful that mobile betting would be available in the state by the Super Bowl in February.

After a vote by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, SWARC, on Thursday, it could be closer to late November or early-December.

READ MORE: Committee votes on mobile sports betting in Maryland

"There’s going to be a lot of activity, for which we have to be prepared to act on a responsible but expeditious basis," said SWARC Chairman Tom Brandt at a meeting.

Right now, we’re in the middle of a 45-day application period, where potential mobile and brick-and-mortar operators are submitting the paperwork to be considered for a license.

That window ends October 21st.

Before Thursday, another 45-day window was supposed to start, where SWARC would evaluate those applications and grant licenses at the end of that period.

Thursday’s unanimous vote would allow approval and distribution of licenses on a rolling basis instead of waiting and granting them all at once after 45 days.

READ MORE: Sports bettors want mobile option in Maryland as football season nears

Ryan Butler is a reporter with iGamingNext and covers the sports betting landscape across the country.

"I think this, finally, of all the different moving parts that have to be fulfilled in order for sports betting to happen. This got the gears moving a little bit quicker now and that’s why I think we’re closing in on that November-December timeline instead of that maybe January-February-March," Butler said.

The approval process for mobile approval versus brick-and-mortar are slightly different, but given some of the brick-and-mortar operators already in place are applying for mobile licenses, it may expedite the process.

READ MORE: Maryland State Lottery opening licensing website in effort to move forward with mobile sports betting

"They kind of went through the in-person regulatory process, which, again, is different than online. But the fact that they did that, it allows the regulators to get more familiar with the company, and it allows the company to get more familiar with the regulators," Butler said.