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Legal questions in Md. over daily fantasy sports

Posted: 11:23 PM, Jan 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-18 11:34:25Z
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh's office wants lawmakers to take a closer look at daily fantasy sports games and whether they're legal to play.
 
With the NFL playoffs underway, it's an issue under scrutiny in several other states as well.
 
The AG's office clarified Friday that traditional fantasy sports games are allowed in Maryland, thanks to a law passed in 2012. But the daily fantasy games played online against thousands, sometimes millions of players that are raising concerns about commercial gambling.
 
You've probably seen and heard the commercials for websites like FanDuel and DraftKings. They offer the chance to win millions in prizes by creating your dream team in daily and weekly fantasy sports games. Like so many football fans, Marc Wolfe was intrigued.
 
"You can make money every week," he said.
 
 
Those frequent payouts are raising red flags across the country, including Maryland. In a letter to Senate President Mike Miller, the AG's office advised state lawmakers to explore the legality of daily fantasy games.
 
Patrick McSwain plays in two traditional fantasy football leagues among friends. He agrees that daily fantasy is a whole different ballgame. 
 
"I think the NFL is behind it and I think that the NFL is basically being run by Vegas nowadays," he said. "So I don't think we need anymore big corporate gambling, somebody else making the money."
 
The number of fantasy sports players in the U.S. and Canada is at an all-time high--at almost 57 million people. More and more people are taking the chance at bigger payouts and  bigger losses through daily fantasy sites.
 
"I lost all my money," Wolfe said. "I had started with 100 dollars, did it for one week and I think I finished with seven dollars."
 
Though he didn't fare too well at it, Wolfe doesn't think Maryland should join at least a half-dozen other states---where DFS play is banned. 
 
"I think it should be legal, I don't see why not," he said. "People can do whatever they want with their money."
 
If the legislature does determine that daily fantasy sports are a form of commercial gambling, then it would be up to voters to either approve or reject a referendum to allow Marylanders to play them.