Speaker Selects Two to Serve on New Sports Betting Commission

    House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) has filled two slots on a new state panel that will help determine which firms can run a legal sportsbook in Maryland.

    She has appointed Cassandra Stevenson and Frank Turner to the seven-member Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC).

    Stevenson is senior vice president and head of corporate tax at Raymond James Financial, the speaker’s office said in a press release. A Montgomery County resident, she is responsible for tax compliance and reporting for the firm and all of its subsidiaries.

    Turner served six terms in the House of Delegates, from 1995 to 2019. A Howard County Democrat, he served as vice-chairman of the Ways & Means Committee.

    As head of the Finance Resources Subcommittee, he led the implementation of Maryland’s gaming law beginning in 2007 and a subsequent expansion in 2012, Jones’s office said. He a professor emeritus in the business school at Morgan State University.

    The SWARC was created by the General Assembly earlier this year following voters’ approval of a 2020 referendum to allow sports gambling.

    The commission will vet applications from firms seeking to operate a bricks-and-mortar betting operation or create a mobile app.

    In approving sports betting legislation earlier this year, lawmakers made it clear they want the new industry to reflect the state’s diversity.

    “I am pleased that Cassandra and Frank have agreed to serve on this critically important commission,” Jones said in a statement. “Their background and experience will ensure that we have a fair and thorough process to maximize opportunities for everyone in this new industry in Maryland.”

    The state Senate gets to appoint two members to the commission and Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) gets to appoint two. Those selections are expected in the coming days.

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    Bruce DePuyt
    Bruce DePuyt spent nearly three decades on local television, including 14 years as executive producer and host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C., area. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County and as reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, VA. He's a regular contributor to WTOP (103.5 FM) and frequently moderates community and political events.