Next month, online gambling, daily fantasy sports (DFS), and sports betting will be topics discussed at a Congressional hearing.
ESPN’s David Purdum broke the news on Thursday, that a hearing to consider the legal status of online gambling, DFS, and sports betting will be held on Wednesday, May 11 by the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.
New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr, who last September called for some form of federal examination of DFS and is the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, requested the hearing. Currently, Pallone’s home state is the country’s largest regulated online gambling market and has been diligent in its attempt to lift the federal sports betting prohibition. It has, however, been somewhat slower in dealing with DFS.
Approximately 30 legislatures in capitols nationwide are considering proposals to regulate, restrict or ban altogether fantasy sports leagues that offer games where players compete for cash prizes online by building rosters of real-life athletes. To date, league operators in at least eight states have either pulled out due to questions of legality or have been banned. Some states, however, are introducing what are being called, consumer protection measures, in a push to give DFS a legal shield. Their efforts may be in vain though as it is suspected by legal experts that under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 DFS may represent illegal sports betting. Reportedly, the federal role in overseeing DFS activity will be considered during next month’s hearing.
Iowa is the latest state to propose DFS legalization, and on Wednesday Senate Study Bill 3181 was approved by a panel of state lawmakers, according to CalvinAyre. Last month similar legislation was approved by one Iowa House committee but hasn’t received any legislative activity since then. In addition to proposing legalization of DFS, the bill that was introduced in the Iowa Senate would provide fee structures, state regulation, and consumer protections. Under SB 3181, DFS operators would be required to be regulated and licensed by the Iowa racing and Gaming Commission, and the resulting revenue from DFS would be subject to a 7.5% tax rate.
Lawmakers in Colorado are considering similar legislation in Colorado House Bill 1404. If successful, a Colorado Office of Fantasy Sports would be created, a regulating office which would be responsible for drafting rules that would ensure that fantasy sports games are played fairly and not as a smokescreen for illegal gambling,