MD Gov. to Crackdown on Predatory Sports Betting Content

Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed a bill on Tuesday that seeks to regulate content partners of the state’s various sportsbook operators. Senators Craig J. Zucker and Shelly Hettleman were the main sponsors of the bill.

MLGCC To Assess Sports Wagering “Influencers”

The bill – SB 0621 – authorizes the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) to contract with individual evaluators who will “evaluate and rate sports wagering content provided by, as defined by the bill, sports wagering experts, sports wagering influencers, and content partners.”

The independent contractors that the MLGCC authorizes must have an audit process in place that is maintained by a certified public accountant. In addition, they must have experience in regulating sports wagering content, and no financial stake in any sports wagering company. Contractors are also banned from wagering on sports themselves.

According to the bill’s fiscal note, administrative costs are expected to increase for the State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (SLGCA) in the beginning of 2024 as a result of the compensation required to employ the content evaluators that the state contracts.

Maryland’s Class B-2 Licenses Also Subject To Change

The second section of the bill also authorizes the MLGCC and the Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) to consider requests to amend Class B–2 sports wagering facility license applications. The MLGCC awards Class B-1 and B-2 facility licenses to certain qualified horse-racing, simulcast betting, and commercial bingo entities. This would apply to retail entities in the state and not mobile operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

The amendment allows the MLGCC to consider relocation requests. If the request is granted, it would permit these operators to alter the location of their facilities. The request is valid if their license was awarded prior to Feb. 15 of this current year, and the request to amend is submitted prior to the turn of the new year.

Three New Bills Go Into Effect This Summer

SB 0621 follows a pair of Maryland sports betting bills that were passed by the House and Senate earlier this year. SB 0620 and HB 802, which both passed in April, regulates Maryland colleges’ involvement with sports betting operators, prohibiting them from profiting from partnerships advertising to students. They were signed into law by the Governor on Tuesday.

All three bills – SB 0620, HB 802, and SB 0621 – go into effect on July 1, 2023.

Growing Concerns Over College-Sports Betting Crossover

Maryland is one of many states that have passed or are considering passing regulations surrounding the relationship between sportsbooks and universities, given the growing nature of NCAA violations. In fact, University of Maryland and PointsBet nixed their partnership not long after SB 0620 and HB 802 were passed in both legislative chambers.

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are under thorough investigation at the moment for suspicion of sports betting activity on their baseball teams, as is the University of Alabama for direct violation of NCAA sports betting rules.

NCAA sports betting rules “prohibit participation in sports wagering activities and from providing information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competition.”