Those daily fantasy sports leagues are all the rage, and Maryland officials are taking a closer look at them. But the central question remains: Are they legal?
The answer is that no one seems to know, and if they do they’re not saying.
In recent weeks a number of states have declared that sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings were illegal gambling. Most recently, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman ordered FanDuel and DraftKings to stop operating in that state.
In Maryland, consumer protection falls within the bailiwick of the Office of the Attorney General. Since taking office, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has announced millions in settlements for bad debt collecting and cell phone billing practices and an investigation into alleged deceptive vehicle emissions practices involving Volkswagen diesel cars.
Frosh was also the only senator to vote against a 2012 law that legalized fantasy sports leagues in the state. He said then that he considered the bill an expansion of gambling.
A spokesman for Frosh Friday declined to say if the attorney general believes the sites are operating legally in the state or if he would investigate the industry similar to what was done in New York.
“As The Daily Record has reported, the Comptroller’s office is taking the lead on a review of fantasy sports operations in Maryland, and representatives from the Office of the Attorney General will be providing legal counsel as that review proceeds,” David Nitkin, a Frosh spokesman, said in an email.
A law passed in 2012 gives the Office of the Comptroller the ability to regulate the leagues, but no one at that time contemplated the online industry that sprouted up.
In October, Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot called the sites “just completely blatant wholesale gambling operations.”
When asked about the sites Friday, a spokesman for the comptroller said the issue was still being reviewed.
Andrew Friedson, a Franchot spokesman, said “the Comptroller is convening the relevant state officials to look into the issues surrounding this industry but no formal determinations have been made and anything prior to that would be premature.”
Friedson did not respond when asked what additional information was needed to make such a determination.