Marissa Coleman Just Keeps Bringing Wins To Maryland

Written By Derek Helling on July 13, 2021 - Last Updated on June 16, 2022
Marissa Coleman

University of Maryland fans will never forget the 2006 women’s basketball squad. Thanks to the likes of Marissa Coleman, the Terrapins claimed the national championship that year.

Coleman’s labor to bring wins to MD has only grown since then. Most recently, she has been pivotal in bringing legal sports betting to Maryland.

Coleman’s ambitions include becoming a power player in the sports entertainment industry. Just like in 2006, Coleman will bring along anyone who wants to join her team for the wins. The victories are already piling up.

Marissa Coleman has been winning for decades already

Coleman’s basketball career extended into the WNBA, where she played for six different franchises from 2009 to 2018. She averaged 6.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 21 minutes per game. She appeared in 319 games, making 162 starts, and was a WNBA All-Star in 2015.

Keeping with the theme of winning everywhere she goes, teams she was part of qualified for the playoffs in all but three of the seasons in which she was active. In that 2015 season, she went to the WNBA Finals with the Indiana Fever. Coleman has since secured several wins as an activist and entrepreneur in the DMV.

Coleman is a co-owner of a Mellow Mushroom restaurant in Roanoke, VA. She also started an AAU organization for girls in Washington, DC, where she attended St. John’s High School, in 2013. On top of studying for her MBA at Georgetown University currently, Coleman chaired the campaign to legalize sports betting in MD via the ballot last year.

As chair of the Vote Yes on Question 2 campaign, she brought yet another win. The ballot measure not only passed but did so by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. That was merely the beginning of Coleman’s positive influence on Maryland sports betting, though.

Coleman shaped enabling legislation in MD

Through her work as chair of Vote Yes on Question 2, Coleman was able to take part in conversations on the governing statutes the state government has since enacted.

As Coleman explained:

“I was a huge advocate and lobbied for the meaningful inclusion and participation for women and minorities to be written into the legislation. More often than not, women and underrepresented minorities are left out of these once-in generational opportunities and burgeoning industries. These unicorn opportunities do not come around often, and what you tend to see is that these opportunities are only presented to a certain group of people. When these industries are introduced or made aware to the general public, deals are already made, partnerships are already formed, and it is too late for people to enter a particular industry.”

The provisions that the law includes, partially due to Coleman’s lobbying, are:

  • The creation of a Small, Minority-Owned, and Women-Owned Business Sports Wagering Assistance Fund
  • A mandate for licensees to form a plan to involve minority-owned vendors in their sports betting activities
  • A provision that allows regulators to give priority for licensing to applicants who demonstrate minority inclusion
  • A requirement for the state to conduct an annual study into minority participation in MD sports betting

Coleman has already taken the lead herself in becoming part of the industry along these lines. Her work – if not her person – is something that bettors in MD are about to become quite familiar with.

Might Coleman become the face of Maryland sports betting?

Coleman has made a deal with Delmock Entertainment and the Riverboat on the Potomac to become their Vice President of Marketing. She receives some equity in the partnership as part of her compensation. In June, that partnership expanded to give PointsBet Sportsbook market access into MD.

“I am extremely excited to enter this partnership. This is a great opportunity for all involved,” Coleman stated. “It excites me to partner with a fellow minority group in this burgeoning industry. As a unit, our main goal is to become one of the premier locations for patrons to place legal sports bets in the state of Maryland.”

Coleman also says that conversations are ongoing with PointsBet about using her in the local marketing materials.

“Growing up in Maryland, winning a national championship at the University of Maryland, and all of my success as an athlete in the state, I believe provides PointsBet and The Riverboat with a unique opportunity to be one of few sportsbooks with a female sportsperson,” Coleman elaborated.

Also making Coleman a marketable talent is the fact that others recognize her success even beyond the borders of MD. For example, Tully Bevilaqua, who played in the WNBA against Coleman and coached her with the Fever, shows no surprise about Coleman’s continued dominance.

“It is of no surprise that Marissa has continued on her success beyond the basketball court and into corporate America,” Bevilaqua commented. “The characteristics that make elite athletes are the same ones that are required to be successful in anything.”

As far as the sports betting industry in MD continues to align itself with Coleman, it seems sure to succeed. Coleman continues to prove that betting on Black women is really no gamble at all. It’s a sure thing.

Photo by AP / Darron Cummings
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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