Sports bettors want mobile option in Maryland as football season nears
BETHESDA, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Nine months after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan placed the state’s first-ever legal in-person sports wager, mobile betting has yet to catch up.
"We’ve been behind," Hogan said back in December of 2021. "People have been betting in other states and neighboring places and now they can finally do it right at home."
But now, there appears to be a renewed sense of urgency as another football season kicks off.
In a letter sent late last week, regulators asked Maryland lawmakers to essentially speed things up with Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) Chair Thomas Brandt writing, "After much work, we are nearly at the finish line, but we need your help."
The letter was addressed to members of the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR), one of several governing bodies involved in the rollout of the state’s complex sports betting legislation.
Brandt went on to write, "The sports wagering industry is ‘seasonal,’ and the football season (September through the Super Bowl in February) annually generates much more activity than other times of the year."
"As a bettor, it’s frustrating," said well-known professional gambler Jack Andrews of Unabated.com. "We’ve seen in other states that 85% of bets are made via mobile betting."
He’s not the only one comparing Maryland’s flawed rollout to other states. In a June letter, Hogan wrote, "Marylanders have grown frustrated waiting for mobile sports wagering as they have watched it become available in state after state across the country."
Also, in an article for iGaming Next, Ryan Butler said, "Maryland’s mobile sportsbook rollout timeline has already run longer than all of the more than 20 other states that have approved statewide online wagering."
"Not everybody wants to drive around to every different casino and place their bets," Andrews added. "They want to have the variety of betting in the palm of their hand. So for Maryland to be kind of holding this up and taking their time, it’s definitely affecting the bettors that want to get their money down on college football and NFL football."
FOX 5 reached out to representatives of AELR for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.
There is a SWARC meeting scheduled for Friday morning, during which mobile wagering may be discussed.