Maryland Bans College Player Prop Bets

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As of last Friday, regulator Maryland Lottery Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) has banned player-specific prop bets from the state’s sports betting market.

Among U.S. markets, only those sports betting in Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Wyoming, and Washington D.C. are legally allowed to place such bets.

Ohio was also previously on the list, but last month it dropped college player props.

The changes come in response to a high-profile campaign from former Massachusetts governor and current National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Charlie Baker.

The NCAA says that college player prop bets are bad for student athletes’ mental health. It also cited several studies it has previously commissioned that suggest prop bets can lead to abuse from angry bettors.

“Maryland’s sportsbook operators were directed to stop taking college player prop bets as of March 1, 2024,” an MLGCA spokesperson said.

“The decision brings Maryland in line with other states that have disallowed these wagers to protect college athletes against potential harassment. The intent is to focus college sports wagers on the teams rather than on the individual athletes.” 

Market Details

Customers at online and retail sportsbooks in Maryland are no longer able to place proposition bets on specific college players as of the ban coming into effect on Friday, March 1.

College futures prop bets, such as the football betting favorite of who will win the college football season’s MVP award, the Heisman Trophy, will still be allowed.

Any prop bets wagered before March 29 will still be honored by ‘books, the MLGCA said.

Sportsbooks have all been told to remove the offending bets, with some already informing customers on social media about the changes.

Maryland bettors wishing to place college prop wagers can head over state lines to the Washington D.C. area, where such bets are legal. But then, they would have to use Intralot’s D.C. sports betting app GAMBET, which has a middling reputation, to put it mildly.

Or, of course, offshore sportsbooks, which offer a myriad of prop bets that regulated ‘books wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Why the Ban?

College sports betting is now widely supported by the NCAA. Just half a decade ago, it was the primary defender of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which was repealed in 2018.

NCAA President Baker may be broadly supportive now, but he is still dead set against player prop bets in these markets.

Out of the six states that offered these wagers going into 2024, two have now dropped them.

In 2023, the NCAA commissioned two studies into the rise of abusive behaviors towards college athletes. It determined that prop betting was a significant factor behind the increase in angry fans.

Now that Ohio and Maryland have banned the practice, Baker and the NCAA may well set their sights on the four remaining legal U.S. markets for such bets.

As well as banning prop bets, Ohio has also taken steps against angry sports fans and bettors. Any fan found to be abusive to sports players, college or otherwise, can be banned from sports betting in the Buckeye State. That’s under new powers issued to regulators last year.

West Virginia sports betting regulators may soon implement similar rules. A Bill recently passed the state House proposing sports betting bans for abusive bettors. It is due to head to the state Senate in the coming weeks.  

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