Last Updated Jun 17, 2022, 7:19 AM

Crab Cakes, Football, Sports Betting

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Crab Cakes, football, and sports betting? When you ask anyone from Maryland, they will let you know just how much better the crab cakes are straight from the Chesapeake Bay and how football means just as much to their high schools as it does in the state of Texas. Now Maryland aims to be great at something else, and that is to provide sports betting to the masses. There might be a slight glitch to the matrix.

HB 940 was one of the items that Maryland voters were able to cast a ballot for in the November 2020 election. It was a simple yes or no question that gave the Maryland constituents the ability to bet on sports. Maryland is home to a few casinos including the Horseshoe Casino and Hollywood Casino, but up until the HB 940 bill was passed, they were unable to take wagers on any sports.

The constituents voted yes on HB 940 and it quickly went up the ranks to the state congress to solidify it into law. Governor Larry Hogan has been an advocate for legalized gambling, and with Maryland already providing Casinos and horse betting, they had the appetite to garner the action that sports betting would induce. Larry Hogan also made a quick appearance in a sports book to show support.

So, what is the problem?

Maryland created the SWARC. SWARC, or Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, has been slow in allowing the sports wagers to become mobile. Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware are all legal betting states that surround Maryland, but once Maryland passed HB 940 they were able to partake in the reward from legalized sports betting.

Since the passing of HB 940 only 5 separate sportsbooks were given the greenlight by SWARC, and those brick-and-mortar sportsbooks have generated $2,693,740 in taxed for the state of Maryland. The vast majority of the revenue garnered from sports betting in Maryland goes to the Education Trust Fund. The total handle from Maryland from just December 2021 to May 2022 has been $155,639,687. From just 5 site sportsbooks! Governor Hogan sees a window of real opportunity in allowing mobile wagering. The amount of handle could easily triple or quadruple with mobile access.

Governor Hogan understands the importance of the SWARC, but of the few sportsbooks that have been given licenses already, they are still unable provide online wagering. The Governor sent a letter directly to the SWARC in part saying, “I write to you today to urge the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission to act immediately so that mobile sports wagering can begin in the state of Maryland before the start of the National Football League (NFL) regular season on September 8, 2022.” He continued by stating, “To make that target date achievable, it is imperative that you immediately accelerate and intensify your efforts.”

The letter by Governor Hogan implicitly urges the SWARC to get moving towards mobile gaming sooner rather than later. Much of the frustration lies in those already given licenses such as Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars and FanDuel sportsbooks have not been given the go ahead to operate online. The longer the hold up by the SWARC, the more missed revenue.

Maryland is 1 of 30 states (plus D.C) where sports wagers are legal, but to maximize the potential they must take it mobile. The sportsbooks that have been granted the licenses to operate in Maryland have the capability to utilize the mobile option quickly. Governor Hogan has a very key target date he would like to be met, and if you are looking for a better time to get a sportsbook operational, there isn’t going to be a better time that the start of the NFL season.

Crab cakes, football, sports betting anyone?

Written by Reno Jonny, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.

The featured image for this post was sourced on Getty Images.

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