It's Like We Had Esp or Something: Sports Betting Hits the Airwaves P2 - Sparrow Law Firm

The problem with talking about criminal charges Booth is risking is that we aren’t quite sure of where he and his family live. They could be in the District of Columbia, or they could be in Virginia or Maryland. We covered Virginia and the District in that April 25 post.

Our timing couldn’t be better to go over Maryland’s laws: The Preakness, the second “jewel” in horse racing’s Triple Crown, will take place on May 16 in Baltimore, and Kentucky Derby winner American Pharaoh is expected to compete.

Maryland: Not surprisingly, the state allows betting on horse races. That may be the clearest part of the law.

Maryland state law customizes charitable gaming laws for each county. The types of organizations allowed to run raffles, for example, may differ from county to county.

That’s charitable gambling, though, and Booth is placing bets for his own benefit. In Maryland, betting on a sporting event is misdemeanor carrying a jail sentence of six months to one year, a fine of any amount between $200 and $1,000, or both jail and a fine. The same is true for anyone who allows a betting operation on his or her property and bookmakers.

It’s a little more complicated if you’re in Baltimore city. There, police would issue Booth a citation instead of slapping handcuffs on him and forcing a perp walk out of the Jeffersonian.

As in Virginia, someone who loses money at an illegal “gaming device” — essentially any illegal gambling operation — can recover that money from the operator. The loser becomes a legitimate creditor of the winner. A winner, however, has no legal course of action to recover winnings from an illegal gaming device.

As you can see, these laws are complicated — and kind of a crapshoot. What’s legal in one state is illegal in the neighboring state, or county, or ….

When it comes to office football pools and fantasy sports, though, it seems you wager at your own risk.

Source: Maryland Code Annotated, Criminal Law Titles 12 (Gaming – Statewide Provisions) and 13 (Gaming – Local Provisions), via WestlawNext