MARYLAND – After a long wait of two years, Maryland sportsbooks who were hoping for a mobile option are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
On Wednesday, Maryland regulators granted licenses to 10 sportsbooks, paving the way for mobile sportsbooks to go live next week. Operators will be holding “controlled demonstrations” in the coming days to show off their systems, and if those go well, the first mobile sports bets could be placed before Thanksgiving.
Operators that have been granted licenses include Bet MGM, FanDuel, Draft Kings, Horseshoe and the Washington Commanders.
READ MORE: Sportsbooks want mobile options in Maryland as football season approaches
FOX 5 spoke to officials at MGM National Harbor about the news. They say they are ready for more than mobile betting.
“We’ve waited a long time for this moment, with Virginia on the other side of the bridge and DC having had it for a while now. I can tell you we’re all very excited about this,” says Alex Alvarado of MGM National Harbor FOX 5. “I think it’s just another way our guests can enjoy all that we have to offer, so we’re excited We really appreciate that there are more ways for customers to enjoy this form of entertainment.”
Fans also expressed their excitement about the launch of mobile sports betting in the coming week.
“Now I can stay home! Lay on my bed! And make my bets! Hey, that’s all I can ask for!” said one fan.
Another added: “Love it! Yes, it will be very convenient! I love it! I love it!
READ MORE: Will Maryland Casino Players Quit For Mobile Sports Betting?
A potential Maryland sportsbook that FOX 5 spoke to indicated that the introduction of mobile betting will help the state.
“It’s much more convenient and instead of taking our money to DC, Virginia or wherever, why not keep our money in Maryland!”
The news comes two years after Maryland voters passed a referendum approving sports betting in the state. It took casinos a year to get the state to start accepting in-person sports bets while building mobile betting infrastructure continued. Both Virginia and DC already had their sports betting apps online.
FOX 5 spoke to Maryland Lottery Director John Martin to learn more about the delays in rolling out mobile betting. He says the problem is rooted in the complicated licensing system set up by state legislatures.
“Sure, Draft Kings and FanDuel have been there and they’re national leaders, but they’re the sports operator, they’re not the license holder, and the process that took so long is that we had to work with the license holder,” said Martin, “Now you understand and look back and say ‘wait a minute, now that makes sense’ why it took so long. Well, a lot of these people had to formulate these partnerships, they didn’t exist until September or June.”
According to new estimates released Wednesday by the Maryland Sports Wagering Commission, analysts are predicting that mobile sports betting will generate $26 million in tax revenue for the state in its first year alone. By year five, they expected mobile sports betting to bring in nearly $100 million.