Maryland Removes College Player Prop Bets From Approved Wager List

Written By Dan Holmes on March 5, 2024
A picture of the 2019 University of Maryland men's basketball team in the huddle before a game against Notre Dame.

Effective immediately, the Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency has banned college player prop bets.

In recent months, other states have re-evaluated bets on individual college players after the NCAA asked states to eliminate that type of betting. Ohio banned prop bets on college players last month.

In a statement last week, the Maryland Gaming Agency said it switched policies to protect student-athletes.

“(This action) brings Maryland in line with other states that do not allow these wagers in the interests of protecting college athletes from harassment.”

Half of the US states with sports betting allow prop bets on college players

Voters approved Maryland sports betting in 2020. Wagering at retail outlets began in December 2021, with online sports betting launching a year later, in November 2022. Nearly $545 million was bet on sports in January, 23% higher than in January 2023.

As the sports betting market matures in the US, regulators are looking closer at the dangers to college athletes. A report from Cronkite News said a college team’s players received direct threats from a gambler via social media in 2023.

College player prop bets are wagers on the performance of a specific athlete in a competition. For example, whether or not a wide receiver will score a touchdown, how many points a basketball player will score, or the over/under on yards rushing for a running back.

With the change, Maryland sports bettors can no longer place bets on individual college players and their achievements, but they are still permitted to wager on some college awards, such as who will win the Heisman Trophy in football.

About half the states with legal sports betting, notably Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan and New Jersey, still permit such bets. Of the 25 states where DraftKings is active, for example, 13 allow college player props, and 12 do not.

Another Maryland bill would ban betting on college campuses

The Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency can alter wager types without legislative action. It can also add or remove approved sports from the wagering catalog.

Some lawmakers in Maryland are seeking to safeguard college students even more from gambling.

Maryland Del. Pam Queen, a Democrat representing the 14th District, introduced a bill requiring gaming operators to use a geofence to exclude wagering from college campuses. That bill has yet to reach the House floor for a vote.

At the same time, several states are vigilantly monitoring marketing from sportsbook operators in their jurisdictions. Some punish sportsbooks for advertising and promotions targeting young people, especially those under the legal betting age.

Photo by AP Photo / Julio Cortez
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, casino and sports betting legislative matters for several of the Play sites, including PlayMaryland, PlayMichigan and PlayMassachusetts. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters.

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