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Hogan Calls On Committee To Approve Mobile Sports Betting By Start Of NFL Season

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Blaming what he called "endless bureaucratic roadblocks," Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday called on a state committee to have mobile sports wagering in place by the start of the NFL regular season in September.

In a letter to the Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission (SWARC), the legislative panel providing final approval for licenses in the state, Hogan said Marylanders have grown frustrated seeing mobile betting launch in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. but not their state.

"Instead of decisive action to implement the voters' decision, you have allowed the process to stagnate and become mired in overly bureaucratic procedures that have needlessly delayed the state's ability to maximize the revenue potential of this emerging industry," he wrote. "Sports fans in Maryland simply want to be able to place bets on their mobile devices—that's what they voted for, and they are angry and discouraged over SWARC's inability to make it happen."

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 released last week by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

Ahead of SWARC's next meeting on Thursday, Hogan called on the committee to prioritize mobile betting licenses and establish a "firm and transparent timeline" for residents to follow.

He also called on the panel to release drafts of the application for a mobile sports wagering license and regulations.

This is not the first time Hogan has prodded the committee. He expressed frustration with SWARC's pacing after the gaming commission forwarded the first casino licenses for approval last October and the committee punted.

"It appears as if the legislature is pressuring the commission to delay things as long as possible," the governor said on Nov. 3.

By a vote of 5-2, the licenses were approved on Nov. 19. MGM National Harbor became the first operational sportsbook in the state on Dec. 9.

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