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Marylanders might get to vote on legalizing fantasy sports
Marylanders would get to vote in November on whether to legalize daily fantasy sports betting under a plan that’s moving through the state Senate.
The industry — which is led by companies including FanDuel and DraftKings — has been in legal limbo since the state Attorney General’s Office issued an advisory opinion in January saying the websites might not be legal under Maryland’s gambling laws.
The Senate is considering a pair of bills to clarify the situation. One would make daily fantasy sports betting illegal starting in 2017, but the second bill would make the practice legal — and allow the state to regulate it — if voters approve it during a referendum in Novembers election.
The issue of daily fantasy sports has drawn the attention of one of the top Democratic leaders in the state, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who said Tuesday that there are no consumer protections for people who play daily fantasy sports online.
“Right now there are no regulations in place,” he said.
Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat, said the bills would take an “outlaw, unregulated industry” and bring it “into the light of day.”
Under existing state law approved in 2012, fantasy sports that reflect the “relative skill of participants” is exempt from other prohibitions on gambling in the state. That law was intended to allow fantasy football leagues among friends or coworkers.
In fantasy sports, participants earn points based on how their chosen or “drafted” professional athletes perform on the field. Usually, participants track their players for an entire sports season, potentially winning money at the end of the season.
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