Maryland Senate OKs bills on daily fantasy sports, state seal motto

Voters might decide whether daily fantasy sports should be legal in Maryland.

Maryland's senators approved bills Wednesday that would change the translation of the motto on the state's seal and set up a voter referendum on online daily fantasy sports games.

The state Senate voted 40-6 to make the officicial translation of the motto on the seal -- "fatti maschii parole femine" -- as "strong deeds, gentle words" rather than "manly deeds, womanly words."

The motto comes from the Calvert family. It is not designated as the state motto, but appears on a ribbon at the feet of the ploughman and fisherman on the Great Seal of Maryland.

Senators also voted 46-0 on a pair of bills that would set a voter referendum in November's election to determine whether daily fantasy games should be legal. If the referendum doesn't pass, such games would be illegal starting in 2017.

The Office of the Attorney General issued an advisory opinion in January saying it's not clear whether daily fantasy websites -- such as DraftKings and FanDuel -- are covered by a 2012 law that legalized fantasy games, such as season-long fantasy football pools.

Companies in the fantasy sports industry maintain that they are legal under the 2012 law and oppose the referendum.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association issued a statement Wednesday saying that senators are "out of touch with their constituents and the larger trend throughout the country."

"We urge the Maryland Senate to reverse course and find common sense regulation that supports businesses and innovation and keeps all forms of fantasy sports available to the millions of players in Maryland who enjoy it," the statement said.

The state seal bill and the fantasy gaming bills now move to the House of Delegates for consideration.

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