Crypto Sports Betting: Is it Legal in Maryland? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Crypto Sports Betting: Is it Legal in Maryland?

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Crypto sports betting in Maryland is catching on just like CryptoManiaks reports crypto sports betting is catching on all around the world. The reasons are simple: lower fees, higher payouts, and generally a bit more fun.

But no one can have those benefits unless they’re legal, right?

Let’s find out if the people of Maryland can bet on sports using crypto.

Maryland — Legal for Sports Betting?

The short answer is: almost!

A recent article from Sportsgeek states:

“The US government hasn’t taken a definitive stance on the subject.

They repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018. This Supreme Court decision dissolved a federal ban on sports betting. States can now decide whether or not they want to legalize the activity.”

This means that, at the federal level, sports betting is legal. However, states have their own legality issues as well. 

Maryland, in particular, at the end of 2019, became one of the first states to propose legalized sports betting heading into 2020. The proposal was put forth as Senate Bill 58, which was prefiled by State Senator Chris West.

Senate Bill 58 Summary:

“Providing that the General Assembly may authorize, by law, the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to issue certain sports wagering licenses; providing that a license may be issued only to the holder of a video lottery operation license or a license for thoroughbred racing or harness racing; declaring the intent of the General Assembly that State revenues generated by the proposed sports wagering be used for dedicated purposes including public education; submitting the Act to a referendum of the qualified voters of the State; etc.”

Now Senate Bill 58 seems to be heading to the election ballot in November of 2020.

November 2020 will be a decisive year for Maryland and for the country as a whole. And if Maryland voters decide to legalize sports betting in their home state then they need to talk to their congressional representatives to push it through with a simple majority. 

If the simple majority passes then sports betting would be legal “on the 30th day following the official canvass of votes for the referendum.” 

It would be a win-win situation because the biggest benefit of tax revenue from sports betting would be public education.

Crypto Sports Betting — How is it Different?

Once sports betting passes in Maryland, will using cryptocurrencies affect its legality?

The fact is that betting with bitcoin is not illegal. This is a fact because using bitcoin for betting is simply considered another form of money transfer. 

It makes no difference, legally speaking, if you were choosing to transfer funds via Western Union, Skrill, or your bank or credit card or, in this case, with Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. It’s simply another method to move your money from your wallet to the sports betting site and back again.

Hopefully, the law passes, because there are benefits to use bitcoin to place your bets.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are better than traditional banking deposit methods for a number of reasons.

  1. Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals are faster
  2. Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals are cheaper
  3. Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals help the betting company pass savings onto you.

These benefits are thanks to the blockchain technology on which bitcoin is built. Many other cryptocurrencies are also built on their own versions of blockchains which may be faster, cheaper, or otherwise better in different ways.

Nevertheless, there are a few sticking points with using cryptocurrencies that people should be aware of:

  1. Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals are irreversible. This is not a problem for those who are educated on how to double-check the addresses they use and a few other responsibilities that come with transferring and using cryptocurrencies. 
  2. Cryptocurrencies are not regulated and insured the same as bank funds. If a hacker steals cryptocurrencies from the sports betting website someone uses, that website may not be able to recover that money and instead pass the losses onto their customers. 

There are more benefits and responsibilities that come with owning cryptocurrencies and using them for sports betting, purchases, investing, and all the other manner of transactions. 

There are myriad resources for keeping up with the sports betting situation in Maryland. There are also a plethora of sites for education in cryptocurrency. Combining these two avenues should provide a broad horizon that keeps people responsible when using cryptocurrencies.

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