September 6, 2022 Sports Betting, Legal, Land Based

Maryland sports betting commission adds diversity requirement to applications

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The plan, known as SWARC, needs to be submitted to the sports betting commission within 30 days after licensure.

The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission unanimously approved a policy amendment Friday requiring companies awarded a mobile betting license in Maryland to submit a diversity plan.

The plan is known as SWARC and will need to be submitted to the sports betting commission by the operator within 30 days after licensing. 

The commission expects operators to include strategies to obtain a diverse group of owners or contractors, conduct diversity-related events with proposed timelines, and benchmarks to achieve diversity objectives.

Applicants must also check "yes" to three boxes that summarize it will make a "good faith effort" to meet diversity objectives while reporting diversity metrics to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission and will make its diversity plan available to the public.

According to the addendum: "SWARC will consider any type of diverse group where an applicant can demonstrate that an individual has been disadvantaged and, therefore, the inclusion of the individual as a participant in the diversity plan would be beneficial."

During the meeting, a commission member asked what would happen if a diversity plan is deficient.

Maryland Assistant Attorney General David Stamper replied: "There’s no opportunity of cancelation of the license. The license has been awarded."

The law is also anticipated to provide entrepreneurs from Maryland a chance to compete against larger companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings. 

Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones said in a statement: "When the MGA (Maryland General Assembly) passed sports wagering, it did so with the goal of promoting diversity in the industry.

"The regulations approved, today, by AELR that require sports wagering licensee applicants to seek out minority investors, to use the State’s nationally recognized minority business enterprise program in contracting and submit a substantive diversity plan will help achieve that goal."

The commission is holding a public hearing on the approved regulations next Friday in Baltimore.

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