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July 25, 2021

It could be more than a year until anything happens on DFS

Maryland fails to pass fantasy sports bill

Maryland fails to pass fantasy sports bill
After the Maryland state legislature did not pass legislation dealing with daily fantasy sports before it adjourned on Monday night, the legal status of the industry is still very much up in the air.
United States | 04/13/2016

After the Maryland state legislature did not pass legislation dealing with daily fantasy sports before it adjourned on Monday night, the legal status of the industry is still very much up in the air.

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fter the House failed to act, the president of the state Senate, Mike Miller, called on the state’s attorney general to take legal action against the fantasy sports industry, presumably aimed at its two largest operators — DraftKings and FanDuel.

After two bills passed in the Senate last month, the full House did not take an up-or-down vote on either of the two pieces of legislation.

 

Seeing as the legislation called for a referendum of the voters, it could be more than a year until anything happens on DFS, legislatively.

 

A pair of bills (S 976 and S 980) were on the House’s docket. One would have sent the question of whether the state should regulate DFS to a referendum; the other would amount to a ban on DFS if voters didn’t approve the referendum.

Both bills had originally been scheduled to be considered in a hearing last week, but neither was voted on. The referendum bill passed by a 22-0 margin on Monday, but since it never came up for a full vote in the House, that vote meant very little.

The industry presumably views this is as a victory, as it had been actively campaigning against both bills.

The legislature doesn’t meet again until 2017, and seeing as the legislation called for a referendum of the voters, it could be more than a year until anything happens on DFS, legislatively.

For a long time, the fantasy sports industry believed Maryland was one of the few states where it had established legal clarity, with a 2012 law.

But that idea was turned on its head when Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh issued an advisory opinion on the subject of daily fantasy sports in January. In issuing that opinion, Frosh’s office wrote that the law “should have been subject to voter referendum because it is an expansion of commercial gaming in Maryland.”

The legislative effort was an attempt to follow Frosh’s prescription, but for now, that won’t happen.

After the House did nothing on DFS, Senate President Mike Miller (the sponsor of the bill that would have banned DFS) believed the issue isn’t simply dead in the water. From The Washington Post: Miller said Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D), who was visiting the chamber, should file a lawsuit to ban the games from operating in the state. “I know he’s capable of handling it,” Miller said.

Miller is also the one that originally asked for the opinion from Frosh’s office, and he has been outspoken — at least compared to his fellow lawmakers in Maryland — on the issue of DFS.

 

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