Fantasy Sports a Reality?
Betting on fantasy sports in private leagues in Maryland is not technically illegal, but the law that currently surrounds this issue is so vague that Marylanders are often ineligible for big cash prizes in public leagues, such as the ones on CBS.com and ESPN.com. Fantasy sports have become a national obsession of sorts, as it is reported that one out of every five males over the age of twelve, participated in a fantasy league last year. Maryland lawmaker Delegate John Olszewski Jr., is sponsoring a bill this year that will clear up the fantasy sports betting issue. His bill, bill H.R. 7, would as he puts it, “allow Marylanders the ability to enjoy the same rights that others around the country currently enjoy.”
Maryland is currently one of nine states that allows residents to enter leagues on sites such as ESPN.com, but prohibits the winning of cash prizes. Delegate Olszewski’s bill was first introduced to the Maryland General Assembly in 2009, and than again in 2010. The bill received very little opposition, but was not put to vote. Olszewski sites one of his reasons for sponsoring the bill, saying, “If [fantasy football] leads people to buy additional jerseys or team gear and spawns economic growth, then that could have some spin-off benefits.”