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Maryland Latest to Ban College Player-Specific Prop Bets

Old Line State joins Ohio in removal of NCAA player prop wagers from the marketplace

SPORTSHANDLE (March 4, 2024) – Maryland Lottery and Gaming has banned player-specific prop bets involving intercollegiate competitions, joining Ohio as one of the states to recently enact a ban on that specific marketplace of sports betting.

Covers was the first to report the story, with the ban having taken effect Friday. A Maryland Lottery and Gaming spokesperson confirmed the ban’s start date as March 1 and noted the decision “was made in the interests of protecting college athletes from potential harassment related to their individual statistical performances.”

The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced its ban on player-specific prop bets Feb. 23, and operators had until last Friday to fully implement all such restrictions and void all such existing wagers. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming spokesperson added, “any college player prop bets that customers made on or before Feb. 29, 2024 will be honored, and operators were instructed to remove these markets from their platforms as of March 1.”

DraftKings indirectly confirmed the ban on Twitter over the weekend when its customer service team responded to an inquiry about placing such wagers.

According to monthly revenue reports published by the state agency, there has been $124.5 million handle on college basketball from November 1 through January 31, with operators generating $7.5 million in sports betting revenue. That handle has accounted for 7.5% of the $1.66 billion worth of overall wagers accepted in that span. This is the first season such statistics have been available, with Maryland Lottery and Gaming providing sport-specific breakouts of handle and revenue starting last June.

The NCAA Finding an Elusive “W”

With the NCAA struggling greatly on the legal front with NIL issues threatening to dismantle college sports’ governing body, it can be argued the oft-criticized organization is gaining some positive momentum in successfully operating on behalf of the student-athletes’ best interests.

The NCAA has been making an active push to state regulatory agencies for a ban on player-specific college props, citing online player harassment. In its letter sent to the OCCC, college sports’ governing body also said the wagers increase the risk of insider information being “solicited to manipulate betting markets” and that player prop wagers may entice student-athletes to bet on themselves to outperform a prop bet related to their own performance.

That argument found an empathetic ear in the Buckeye State, where Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matthew T. Schuler pointed out the NCAA’s ask had a specific goal to “significantly limit the harassment, including threats, from occurring in the first place.” It appears that line of reasoning also resonated in the Old Line State, where flagship school Maryland competes in the Big Ten.

Player-specific college prop bets are coming into increased focus with college basketball set to take a bigger stage this month. Conference tournament play, which leads to the NCAA Tournament field of 68 being filled, begins this week and continues through Selection Sunday on March 17.

The NCAA Tournament, arguably the biggest sporting event and biggest sports betting event not named the Super Bowl in the U.S., gets underway with the First Four on March 19. The NCAA Tournament has long been associated with sports betting in both a legal and social sense, with “office bracket pools” practically becoming universal across all walks of life come mid-March.

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