Most states in America are opposed to the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry operating without a license. Nevada and New York are just two states that have decided to take the legal route to oppose companies like DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state, under the pretext of the contests being a skill based game. Legislators in California have adopted a different strategy as they are pushing hard to pass a new bill that would legalize the DFS industry.
The new bill was framed by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced who has had great success so far in pushing his bill through state legislature. The new bill, which is termed Gray’s Assembly Bill 1437, passed as assembly vote on the 27th of Jan 2016 after it received an overwhelming 68-1 response in favour of it being passed. The DFS industry remained positive the bill would continue to gain momentum and would soon be rolled out, allowing DFS websites to operate legally in the state.
However, Gray’s Assembly Bill 1437 has come under fire from two tribes that operate some of the biggest casinos in the state. The Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have made it very clear that they are not happy with the new bill because it would allow DFS operators to violate California law and face no repercussions for doing so.
The chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Robert Martin, sent in a letter on the 5th of February to Adam Gray highlighting the fact that these DFS games are illegal and wanted him to consider all sides of the problem before pushing his AB 1437 measure further.
In a statement, Martin said “As you know, California’s gaming tribes have made significant contributions to the state and local economies by offering games that are legal under state and federal law,” Martin told Gray. “As such, our members are very concerned that a retroactive approval of a form of gaming that is otherwise illegal, simply because it is popular, is a very dangerous precedent.”
The chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Lynn R.Valbuena, voiced similar concerns by stating that when the two tribes pushed for the legalization of online poker in California, they were required to submit extensive documentation and hours of testimonials to justify the legalization of online gaming. Valbuena stated that such a detailed process for vetting the DFS industry was not being followed and that AB 1437 had a very weak vetting process.
A representative for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association addressed the concerns raised by the two key tribes by stating that they would work together with Assemblyman Adam Gray to address these concerns when the bill is discussed in the senate.