Maryland's Legal Change Allows For Online Fantasy Competitions

Published Sunday, October 14, 2012 -

As the United States of America pushes to control online betting, certain forms of gambling are accepted and are being legislated as legal by individual states. Fantasy sports leagues are almost everywhere in the USA and in some areas the laws allow players to bet against friends, coworkers and others in ongoing fantasy sports competitions.

A new law in Maryland, one of the US’s smallest states has ushered in the possibility for online fantasy betting. Fantasy sports websites have been legal in most states since 2006 with the exception of Maryland which because fantasy sports fell under a 2006 opinion by the state’s attorney general’s office that defined gambling as requiring decisions, the element of chance and a prize. A change in the legislation by Maryland’s General Assembly, officially gave residents the right to win prizes, including cash, in Fantasy Football leagues.

According to Forbes the most popular online fantasy sports betting site claims to have put as much as $3 million dollars back into players pockets every month in 2010. The report submitted by the EldersburgPatch news source asked the Maryland comptroller’s office, about the legality of these sites with the office replying, “the statutory definition of ‘fantasy competition’ may legally operate in Maryland.” Popular fantasy league sports web site Fanduel explained, “The laws relating to fantasy sports varies by State [sic] however in the vast majority of them fantasy sports is considered a game of skill and therefore legal. In most States a game of skill is classed as game where skill is the predominant factor in determining the winner.”

Kim Frum, a spokesperson for the comptroller’s office in Maryland also explained, “Presumably it is possible for a site to call itself an online fantasy competition but in reality be an online gambling site,” adding, “If so, this may be the area in which the regulations are contemplated and in which the Comptroller has been authorized to adopt such regulations.”

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