Betting industry news and notes: Fantasy players win in Maryland

State legalization

A new law in Maryland gives fantasy football players in that state the right to compete for cash prizes. Legislation signed by the governor overrides a state court decision that competing for money was not legal. The decision opens the door for multiple web sites to offer fantasy action, including even single-day play.
 
International

Bwin, which bills itself as the largest online gambling firm in the world, has partnered with Premier League soccer powerhouse Manchester United. The deal improves Man U’s cash-flow in the short term and allows bwin to increase its profile. It’s expected that bwin will have a prominent places on the team’s website. Liverpool has deals with 188bet and Paddy Power, and Chelsea and Bettson are other clubs with ties to gambling firms.

Sports betting

The Sporting News offered sports wagering as one way for the National Hockey League to increase the size of its revenue pie and break the contract stalemate which threatens the entire season. “Elsewhere in the world,” says the publication, “[betting on sports] is part of the way that money is made. If only the pesky laws of North America weren’t in the way, the NHL and other leagues here could benefit greatly from opening the doors to well-regulated gambling.” SN also points out that the NFL cut a deal with its regular refs only after a blown call in the Seattle-Green Bay game not only affected the result but also the point spread.

In the courts

Payment processor Chad Elie, who was entangled in the federal government’s April 2011 shutdown of poker sites Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and Poker Stars, has been sentenced to five months in prison. Elie admitted that he did not tell banks in the United States about the true nature of transactions, and used the banks to fund activities at offshore websites. Elie tried to avoid prison time with an apology for his actions, but the judge was not swayed.
 
New Jersey organized crime figure Louis Fazzini will also soon have a new mailing address after pleading guilty in Philadelphia to charges that include running an illegal sports betting operation. There is talk that Fazzini might be a guest of the government for between four and five years.

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