Maryland could finally have mobile sports betting up and running soon, with up to 10 licenses set to be issued on Wednesday.

The establishment of the expanded gambling industry has moved slowly since Maryland voters approved sports betting during the 2020 election. The first brick-and-mortar sports gambling locations opened in December 2021.

A state commission that awards sports betting licenses is scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider 10 applicants for mobile licenses that already have passed initial reviews. They include:

Should any or all of these companies win mobile betting licenses on Wednesday, they would not be allowed to take bets immediately. They’d first have to pass a final set of control tests overseen by state regulators.

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Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement praising the progress — and criticizing the delays — in getting mobile sports betting under way in Maryland.

“To reach this point, we have had to overcome countless legal, political, and bureaucratic delays that threatened to push back the launch past the Super Bowl next year,” Hogan said in the statement. “It was completely unacceptable to me, and we spent months pressing for decisive action.”

Hogan said he’s “cautiously optimistic” mobile sports betting will start by Thanksgiving on Nov. 24.

The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission has been deliberate in awarding licenses, careful to follow the details of the state’s complicated licensing structure. One key concern has been to ensure participation by minority- and women-owned businesses.

State law allows for up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses, and the state has so far received 21 applications, including the 10 that were deemed qualified and are up for approval this week. The approval vote for the first batch was originally scheduled for Nov. 21, but the commission decided to move it up by one week.

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The launch of mobile sports betting is expected to lead to an exponential increase in revenue that the state gets from its cut of the handle, as most gamblers are expected to prefer to place bets on their phones rather than travel to an in-person location.

“Mobile wagering will account for the bulk of the revenue from sports wagering, and we’re eager to enable Maryland to enter that market,” Thomas Brandt, commission chairman, said in a statement Monday.

Maryland currently has eight facilities that offer in-person sports betting, including five casinos, Bingo World, Riverboat on the Potomac and Greenmount Off-Track Betting.

In October, gamblers spent $39.66 million on sports bets in Maryland, with the sportsbooks paying out $34.35 million in winnings.

The state’s share — 15% of the taxable win — was $781,642 for the month of October. Most of the money goes into the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, which funds enhanced programs for public schools, and a portion also goes to the state’s Problem Gambling Fund.

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Since the launch of sports gambling in December 2021, the education fund has received $5.42 million and the gambling fund has received $885,195.

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

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