As the application process for business owners to enter Maryland’s mobile sports betting industry began this week, state regulators are open to public comment on proposed regulations to guide licensing.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission held a 30-minute hearing on Friday, and spoke primarily to one person. Arthur Robinson, CEO of his Full Circle Solutions in Baltimore.
Robinson’s testimony focused on persuading the commission to refund the $500,000 application fee for the mobile license. Current rules stipulate that other fees are non-refundable if an organization applies, a provision approved by Congress last year.
“If the license is not granted, the fee should be refunded. This seems unfair,” Robinson said.
Robinson also said the proposed rule should have a section on efforts to solicit and interview minority- and women-owned investors.
“The ‘if applicable to the effort’ language doesn’t seem to make it a requirement,” he said.
The commission last Friday approved diversity requirements for companies awarded mobile licenses. Companies must then submit a plan that includes strategies for achieving diversity. However, this process is retroactive and can be done up to 30 days after license approval.
In the meantime, applicants must apply for one of 60 mobile sports licenses and up to 30 Class B licenses by October 21st. The commission began accepting applications on Tuesday.
Approved persons will undergo another background check that can take up to 45 days.
Because of this timeline, mobile sports betting could take place in December near the end of this year’s NFL regular season, but that would be subject to the approval of SWARC and the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission, which oversees the sports betting industry. It’s up to you.
Gov. Larry Hogan (Republican) has called for mobile betting to begin before the NFL regular season begins Thursday.
“After having to overcome bureaucratic hurdles from parliamentary committees, we are finally seeing some progress in mobile betting,” he posted in his post. twitter page Tuesday. “I will keep everyone’s feet on the fire until this is up and running. The people of Maryland have waited long enough.”
Meanwhile, a public comment period on the SWARC Rules may be submitted in writing by September 26th.