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Betr Receives Initial Approval For Maryland Sports Betting License

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Betr received initial approval Thursday from the Maryland Lottery to receive a Maryland sports betting license.

The online sports betting operator founded by Jake Paul and Joey Levy still needs to receive approval from the state’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission and another final approval from the lottery before it can go live. It’s unclear when the betting app might be ready to go live in Maryland.

Betr is currently operational in Ohio and Virginia, with plans to go live in Colorado, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania at some point in the future. Betr operated in Massachusetts before officially leaving the market earlier this year. The operator struggled to gain a foothold in the Massachusetts sports betting market, accounting for less than 1% of market share.

Financial questions

Betr’s financial troubles were the subject of a brief discussion among lottery commissioners.

John Mooney, the managing director of the lottery’s regulatory oversight division, referred to the company’s early financial performance as “poor.” Betr reported revenue of $20.3 million in 2023, but had a net loss of approximately $32 million.

The company expects to have an improved 2024 and aims to reach profitability in 2025. Betr has backing from funding sources, boasting nearly $35 million in cash reserves at the end of 2023. Mooney said the financial challenges aren’t uncommon for a sports betting startup, but the lottery would benefit from reviewing the company’s financial situation annually.

Still, Commissioner Harold Hodges voiced concerns.

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“How would they warrant a positive opinion from your team for future performance based on projections?” Hodges said.

Mooney replied that they have strong financial backing and other operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, also struggled with profitability in recent years.

Hodges ultimately voted against Betr receiving a license – he’s often the lone dissenting voice in licensing discussions – but there was enough support among commissioners for the license approval process to move forward.

Maryland’s sports betting market

Depending on the speed of approvals, Betr could become the first online operator to launch in Maryland in 2024.

ESPN BET and Fanatics Sportsbook were the notable Maryland newcomers in 2023. The state is home to 13 retail sportsbooks and 11 sports betting apps, including major industry players DraftKings and FanDuel and one local sportsbook in Crab Sports. DraftKings and FanDuel have dominated the state’s online sports betting market since its start in November of 2022.

Queen Sportsbook, Bally’s, and Veterans Services Corp. have all been awarded licenses to operate mobile sportsbooks in Maryland, but none of the three have launched. The operators haven’t shared any timelines for when they might launch.

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