In early May, the Governor of the State of Maryland signed into law a bill that exempts certain online fantasy sports games from that State’s gambling prohibitions. The new law authorizes the state Comptroller to issue implementing regulations to be used in establishing the parameters of permitted fantasy sports activity, and the provisions themselves won’t go into effect until October 1, 2012.
The law relies on a similar definition of “fantasy sports” as found in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”). This means that, in order to fall within the law’s exception provisions, the fantasy sports games must have an outcome that reflects the relative knowledge of the participants (but not chance), determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of athletes competing in real-world sporting events.
Further, all fantasy sports league prizes must be established and made known to the participants in advance of the contest and their value cannot be influenced by the amount of fees paid by, or the number of, participants.
Lastly, all winning outcomes must be determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of multiple athletes participating in multiple real-world sporting events. No winning outcome may be based on the score, point-spread or any performance or performances of any single team or any combination of such teams. In addition, no winning outcome may be based solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single event or game.
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