Olszewski Seeks to Exempt Fantasy Football from Gambling Laws

The bill would allow Maryland residents to participate in online fantasy leagues that pay out money to winners.


A state delegate from Dundalk is betting this is the year that his proposed law exempting fantasy football from state gaming laws is passed in the Maryland General Assembly.

Del. John Olszewski Jr., a Democrat, said he plans to re-introduce his bill that would allow Maryland residents to participate in online fantasy football leagues where winners are paid cash prizes.

Currently, state residents are prohibited from playing in leagues on sites like CBSsports.com and ESPN.com, although they can participate in free leagues, said Olszewski.

"Maryland is one of four states specifically prohibited from playing in the paid leagues," Olszewski said. "My bill would allow Marylanders the ability to enjoy the same rights that others around the country currently enjoy."

Olszewski, who said he indulges in a fantasy football league or two, said the leagues don't meet the state definition of gambling and added that a 2006 federal law allows online fantasy leagues—provided that they are not prohibited at the state level.

"It's a lot different than throwing a dollar in a slot machine and having an immediate win-loss result," said Olszewski. "It's not based on scores or point spreads."

Olszewski has pre-filed the bill for this year's Maryland General Assembly session.

It was previously introduced in 2009 and 2010. Despite receiving no opposition, the bill has never received a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Steve Shawson January 05, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Mr. Olszewski: I apologize for the comments that I made. At no time did I intend this to be an attack on you and your performance as a state delegate. In fact, several of your priorities I agree with and I applaud. I just was taken aback that this legislation is something that needed to be introduced at the time, given the situation that the state is in concerning the economy. Please accept my apologies. I know that your are committed to your constituents in the Dundalk area. Steve Shawson Perry Hall
Sean Douglas Franklin January 06, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Did you even read his response he stated he was AGAINST the gas tax and listed several other proposals he is working towards. Are you a westsider or a republican? You must be one of them it's obvious with your one track agenda.
Rebecca Nelson January 11, 2012 at 06:15 AM
SAVE FORT HOWARD FOR VETERANS ONLY!!!!! http://ipetitions.com/petition/save-fort-howard/ Fort Howard L.L.C. can give unlimited 'donations' to politicians!! Join save fort howard on facebook.com/saveforthoward Senator Norman Stone and Senator Nominee Rebecca Weir Nelson are fighting for our veterans hospital to be restored at FORT HOWARD!!!!!!!
Dave Rice August 31, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Here is one good idea, There is an old Bar called Hariolds at the corner of Penninsula Hwy and Merrit Blvd. Use this as a shelter . No Shopping area to worry about and less than 1/2 mile from Polic e Station and Olkeskis office. Now thats a good use for the delapidated bldg. that is becomming ajn eye sore to tghe community. think about it elected officials makes sence to mje. Do Your job instead of all the opppisition to what you were elected to do.
John T. September 07, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I wish Del. Olszewski was a avid on line poker player, then maybe he would work to get that legalized as well, instead of picking and chosing. If I want to sit down at the computer and play an on-line game I cannot because it's illegal.


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