10/09/2012 : ONLINE FANTASY SPORTS BETTING NOW LEGAL IN MARYLAND
New law came into effect October 1st
Despite the availability of a federal legislative carve-out for online fantasy sports betting, the US state of Maryland has in past state AG opinions maintained that the practice is illegal, creating confusion and uncertainty.
Rather belatedly, the state legislature has at last moved forward on the issue, passing a law effective October 1st this year that enables Marylanders to accept the pool from a friends’ fantasy football league.
The implementation of the new law opens the door for a new wave of legal online sports betting that revolves around fantasy teams.
The Washington Post reports that thousands of state residents put millions of dollars on the line in daily or weekly fantasy sports leagues that allow competitors to pick and choose players from different teams and put them up against fantasy teams of friends, co-workers or even strangers.
Fantasy sports websites like FanDeul, Fanball and FantasySportsLive.com, have been legal in most states since the 2006 legislative carve-out at federal level, which has otherwise pursued a ban on all online gambling except fantasy sports, horseracing and state lotteries.
Despite this, Maryland continued to maintain a position that the sites were not legal, mainly due to the state Attorney General's opinion on the issue.
That has all changed following a law passed in the state General Assembly earlier this year that officially allows Marylanders the right to win prizes, including cash, in Fantasy Football leagues.
Fantasy sports betting enjoys widespread popularity, with tier one destination Fanduel claiming as far back as 2010 that it routinely distributed $3 million monthly to players.
Top fantasy sports sites are now understood to have removed Maryland from their ‘no action allowed here' lists, leaving states like Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Alaska still on the ‘no can do' list.