CommunityWilliam J. Ford

Maryland Sports Wagering Commission Holds First Session

For those anxious to start placing sports bets in Maryland before the NFL regular season begins next month, they’ll have to wait a little while longer.

That’s because the state-mandated Sports Wagering Applications Review Commission, which held its first meeting Monday in Annapolis, will need to conclude its evaluations of applicants.  And the next scheduled meeting for the seven-member commission may not take place until at least Sept. 20, which marks the second week of the NFL season.

Some of the duties for the commission include awarding sports wagering licenses, ensuring minority- and women-owned businesses are included in the process and that awarded licensees remain located a specific distance from casinos or other potential sports-betting facilities.

“These are all going to be discussion points for future meetings to lay the groundwork that this commission will have to establish,” said Matthew Bennett, who works for the state’s Department of Legislative Services and is part of the review commission’s staff.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission oversees the sports waging industry, the issuance of renewal of licenses and conducts criminal and financial background checks.

Voters approved sports betting last year and lawmakers passed various measures during this year’s 90-day legislative session to administer the rules and regulations.

Financial projections assessed sports betting revenue could generate between $15 million to $20 million annually in Maryland. A major part of the voter referendum ensures millions of dollars go toward the Blueprint for Maryland’s future education plan.

According to the lottery commission, the state’s six casinos generated a single-month record in July of $180.1 million in revenue. MGM Casino and Resort at National Harbor received $72.9 million, or about 40% of the state’s total.

The number of businesses that will apply for betting licenses remains unknown but application fees range between $50,000 to $2 million based on the class and number of employees.

A business that seeks a Class B-2 license, which requires a fee of $50,000, must have 25 or fewer employees or $3 million in gross receipts.

Those seeking a Class A-1 license, which requires a fee of $2 million, must have more than 1,000 video lottery terminals or slot machines. Venues meeting this requirement include MGM in Prince George’s County, Live! Casino in Anne Arundel County and Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore City.

Another 14 locations that have been slated to offer house sports wagering include FedEX Field in Landover, M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and the Jockey Bar and Grille in Washington County.

Up to 60 mobile and online betting licenses may be granted for companies willing to pay the $500,000 application fee.

Near the end of the almost 40-minute sports wagering commission meeting, Thomas Brandt, Jr., board chairman, summarized one duty for which the group doesn’t need to worry.

“I got chills thinking, my God, we’ve got to audit and regulate bookies. I have no idea how to do that,” said Brandt, former chief financial officer for TeleCommunication Systems in Annapolis. “I’ve learned that the lottery commission of Maryland is very mature and equipped to do that and is not our job. I find that very gratifying.”

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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