Maryland has been one of a small but significant group of states which in recent years has passed betting legislation but then taken longer than most to get everything in place. People have been betting on sports since the start of the year, but the online sportsbook platforms promised by the state have taken longer to get fixed up. A further incentive to get the last details ironed out and launch online betting came in the last week, with the release of numbers relating to sports betting during the month of September.
Last month was the third biggest month for raw income from sports betting since it began in mid-2022, with takings of $31.3 million. For comparison, January saw an income of $32.5 million and March, with the college basketball playoffs, was good for $32 million. More encouraging than this, though, was the news that revenue for sportsbooks was the highest since sports betting launched, standing at $6.5 million.
Nonetheless, the overall figures point to the fact that there may be a ceiling on in-person sports betting, albeit that it has stood up fairly well in what is considered to be the beginnings of an economic recession. That ceiling would appear to be in the region of $32 million per month, but those numbers could go much higher once online sportsbooks are able to enter the arena
There’s no doubt that betting has retained its appeal beyond the novelty value of the early months and the big-draw betting events that sustained January and March (NFL playoffs and March Madness, respectively). However, there will clearly be a cohort of potential bettors who can’t easily travel to a retail sportsbook and place bets whenever they want. That’s an obvious target market for online sports betting, and as good a reason as any to get licenses issued and ready the sportsbook platforms for online betting within the year.
The Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which has come under fire for the slow movement that has beleaguered the process of getting online betting in place, will hold its next public meeting this week, on what is also the closing date for applications. From here, there are 45 days to review applications, with licenses then being handed out on a rolling basis. Barring any unforeseen hiccups, experts consider that this means licenses will be issued and platforms active in time for the beginning of college football’s bowl season, which runs from mid-December until early January.
That would also mean that sports betting is in place for the closing weeks of NFL football and a sizeable chunk of NBA and NHL activity. While retail sportsbooks may take a hit from the availability of online betting, the overall handle from betting in the state can be expected to show a marked rise as a result of the online sports betting launch – if not in December, then in the first full month of online sports betting, which is projected to be January 2023.