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Md. regulators give initial approval for 2 more mobile wagering licenses

State gaming regulators Thursday qualified two more applicants for mobile sports wagering licenses.

The approvals by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission set the stage for final approvals by a second panel later this month.

Bally’s Corporation and WynnBet, a subsidiary of Wynn Interactive, applied for both a mobile sports wagering license as well as an operator license.

Both applicants qualified for an alternative approval process because they are licensees in other states with gaming regulations similar to Maryland.

Bally’s Corporation is an international casino and resort company that boasts 16 casinos, a racetrack, 5,300 hotel rooms and 10,500 employees. In addition to casinos, the company also owns a number of interactive betting applications including Bally Bet, Jackpotjoy and Monkey Knife Fight.

WynnBet is a subsidiary of Wynn Interactive whose majority owner is Wynn Resorts. The company operates the sports wagering app WynnBet in 11 states.

Both are new entrants to Maryland’s gambling market, which includes six casinos and now sports wagering.

Investigators found no issues that would prevent either company from being qualified for a Maryland license, according to reports made public this week.

The state lottery and gaming commission’s action sends those applicants to the Sports Wagering Application Commission. Approval by that panel would leave only some small regulatory hurdles that could set both up for operation in Maryland  before the end of the year.

Approval by the review panel is expected as it has not blocked any applicant qualified by gaming regulators. The review panel is scheduled to meet in about two weeks but is not prevented from meeting sooner.

Operator companies typically partner with license holders, providing the technology and odds making.

In all, state regulators said there are less than two dozen applications for the 60 mobile sports wagering licenses available.

Operator licenses do not count against the 60-license cap. They also do not require additional approval from the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission.

Other applicants for the licenses have not been named publicly. Those applicants typically only become known in the days before lottery commissioners meet to give preliminary approval.

Seven mobile sports betting apps began taking wagers over the Thanksgiving weekend and early reports from one company that monitors betting traffic within state boarders suggested brisk business.

GeoComply monitored more than 477,000 unique users accounts within Maryland. Bets through Maryland licensees must be made within the state’s boarders. The approved mobile apps track compliance using geofencing. The company said it verified the location of users 16.5 million, according to reporting by BetMaryland.com.

“They verify the locations of customers’ devices when customers have Maryland sports betting apps open to ensure that customers are located within Maryland,” said Seth Elkin, a spokesman for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. “The data give some insight about the amount of activity, but GeoComply has no way of knowing how many bets were placed.”

An initial look at mobile sports data could be available later this month.

A third company, DGC MD LLC, applied for a mobile sports betting license and was initially expected to be voted on by lottery officials. That company’s application was pulled from the agenda.

DGC MD LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digital Gaming Corporation which operates sports wagering in seven different states including Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Investigators with the state lottery found no issues that would prevent DGC from obtaining a license, according to a report that was made public this week. That report is not currently available on the gaming commission’s website.

Elkin, the lottery spokesman, said “the company requested that we delay their qualification hearing” but provided no additional information regarding the delay.