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Maryland analyst and legal gambling expert Geoff Fisk exclusively speaks to Gambling Insider about the launch of sports betting in the state, and how it compares to other US markets.

This week, Maryland’s regulator announced it had approved 10 sports betting apps for launch by the first week of December: FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, Barstool, PointsBet, Fanatics, BetRivers, Betfred and Parx Interactive. Here’s what Fisk had to say about the Free State…

What is the biggest opportunity to be found in the Maryland market?

The biggest opportunity could be for the state of Maryland itself. Our analyst, Steve Ruddock, projects that the state could reap upward of $30m in annual sports betting tax revenue. Most of that tax revenue will come from online sports betting and Maryland is poised for success in the mobile betting market. The Maryland market will benefit from its proximity to Washington DC, which doesn’t have a viable online sports betting option at this time.

Will 60 sports betting operators saturate the market too quickly?

It’s doubtful that 60 online sports betting operators will enter the Maryland market in the first year, or ever. If you look at the most competitive mobile wagering markets in the US, states like New Jersey and Colorado have around 25-30 different operators offering online wagering. Maryland likely won’t go above that range. There simply aren’t 60 sports betting brands that are ready to launch in a US market right now.

How do you see the first year of legalised online sports betting going in Maryland?

Ruddock predicts that the first year of operations could generate $200-$225m in operator revenue. That would equate to somewhere in the range of $30-$33m in tax revenue for the state. Assuming an average hold of 7%, the higher end of that revenue range would mean Maryland’s online sportsbooks generate more than $3.2bn in first-year betting handle. At those numbers, Maryland could finish its first year in contention for a spot in the top 10 US online sports betting markets.

Why did it take two years to launch?

That’s a great question, as the delayed rollout costs the state the longer it goes on. The Maryland public voted “yes” on mobile sports betting in November 2020. That referendum called for the state legislature to create and pass a sports betting bill, and that bill didn’t pass the final legal hurdle until May 2021. Maryland has two different regulatory bodies in place to oversee sports betting – and that complicates things even further.

How will it compare to other recently opened US markets?

Several factors are in place for Maryland to achieve the same level of success as other newer markets like Arizona. The population, competitive market structure, and rich sports tradition of the state should lead to a thriving sports betting industry.

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