Maryland sports betting making progress, but sportsbooks still aren't up and running

If residents of the DMV wanted to gamble on Thursday Night Football, hopefully they spent some time in either D.C. or Virginia

Reason being, even though Maryland voters overwhelmingly approved sports wagering last November, the state’s sportsbooks still aren’t up and running.

READ MORE: Sports betting delayed in Maryland as regulators work to develop rules

Some progress, however, has been made.

Just this week, three Maryland casinos -- Horeshoe, Live!, and MGM – cleared a key regulatory hurdle. Still though, as Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin explained to FOX 5, that "doesn’t mean they’re gonna start sports wagering soon, it means they’ve gone to this next step in the process."

Martin acknowledged that’s probably not what many gamblers had hoped to hear, especially after initial comments from lawmakers and others suggested Maryland sports wagering may be up and running in time for the start of the current NFL season.

READ MORE: Maryland Senate passes sports betting measure

"All the talk about the start of football season, none of that was expressed by Maryland Lottery and Gaming, and we were the ones charged with bringing it to market," Martin said, adding that the regulatory framework being implemented in the state is incredibly complex. "You can point to other places and say, ‘well how come they’re up and running?’ Well they don’t have nearly the depth and the scope and the comprehensiveness that we have in Maryland."

"We sell integrity and so we’ve got to make sure the financial integrity is in place, the criminal backgrounds are in place, and that the wherewithal is in place for those entities who want to get into it to be able to withstand the highs and lows of what can happen in sports wagering."

Ryan Butler, a staff writer for Action Network, said other jurisdictions have taken a considerable amount of time to launch sports wagering too.

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"There’s 25-plus states that have done this. The average run is about six months to a year. So it’s just kind of unfortunately what’s going on with this," Butler explained. "Maryland is not necessarily doing worse. They are also just not jumping the gun in any way. They are not expediting the process."

Martin said he expects some in-person sports wagering to be available to Maryland bettors in late-fall. He said mobile wagering, however, is "easily" still six months to a year away.