Maryland committee takes steps toward mobile sports betting, but maybe not by NFL season

BALTIMORE -- Marylanders are one step closer Wednesday to being able to place sports bets using their phones, but the fear is that it will be mid-football season before the system is up and running.

The Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission approved some regulations and applications needed as Maryland navigates through being able to offer mobile sports betting.

Some are excited at the prospect.

"As soon as I can do it on my phone I'll only do it on my phone I won't be coming down here," said Dana Carter, who was sports betting at Horseshoe Casino.

"It's legal, why not put it on your phone?" said bettor Jerome Sparrow. 

Gov. Larry Hogan has been critical of the process, saying Maryland is missing out on money the longer it takes to get mobile betting off the ground. He wants the committee to approve mobile betting by the start of the NFL regular season in September

Bettors can go to five casinos in the state and place in-person wagers, the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Live! Casino in Hanover, the Horseshoe Baltimore, Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, and the Hollywood Casino Perryville.

Those casinos have contributed nearly $2.7 million to the state's coffers in the current fiscal year, according to figures by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. But some estimates show that 90% of sports betting revenue will come from those using their phones.

The commission has cited several roadblocks, including accommodating the needs of female and minority-owned businesses that may need help should they choose to utilize mobile betting.

"A lot of efforts have been made to measure twice and cut once," said Tom Brandt, chair of the Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission. "We've measured more than twice."

Aaron bell says he's old-fashioned and will still come to the casino to place his bets.

"It doesn't really make a difference I like coming here anyway."

But in the age of technology, many say they'll take full advantage once sports betting is offered on their mobile device, and they say it wouldn't hurt to get some more revenue generated for the state.

"Let's get Maryland the money let's generate it and get it the way we have it, Maryland needs it bad," Sparrow said. 

The commission will meet again on August 17 for updates and additional information regarding moving forward. 

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