June 27th, 2010

Maryland Delegate ‘Baffled’ by Bill Silence

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

We’ve mentioned it in passing here a few times that the Maryland state House of Delegates has twice seen a bill introduced seeking to allow fantasy payouts to state residents.

What we haven’t seen is a story about such a bill being passed into law … or even advancing beyond the first level of approval, for that matter.

Curious about the silence beyond the bill introductions each of the past two years, FSB.com contacted Delegate John Olszewski Jr., who has sponsored the fantasy sports bill each of the past two years.

The good news for fantasy industry interests is that neither bill officially failed. The bad news: That’s because neither even made it to the floor for a vote. Why not? Apparently Olszewski doesn’t even know.

“I’m sorry to report that, with the end of the 2010 session (which happened in early April), the bill effectively ‘died’ for another year,” Olszewski told FSB.com. “It died without being brought up for a vote again this year.”

“I’ve been working for several years now to allow Maryland residents to have the same ability to win prizes as all of our neighboring states and most of the country. To date, I have not heard any opposition, so I’m baffled as to why we have not had it come to a vote in either year. It is generally the prerogative of the Chair of the committee and Chair of the Subcommittee to withhold bills.”

So, did a special-interest group get in the ear of some lawmaker(s) in Maryland and kill the fantasy bill the way the Louisiana bill died? Is it simply too small an issue within the state to have found its way to the floor?

We don’t yet know. What we do know, however, is that fantasy sports prizes aren’t much closer to delivery in Maryland than they are in any of the other trouble states.