USA TODAY US Edition
STATE LEGISLATURES SEE DAILY FANTASY SPORTS BILLS
The daily fantasy sports debate has spilled into state capitols nationwide, with nearly 30 legislatures considering proposals to regulate, ban or affirm the games played by millions of Americans. The flurry of recent legislative activity represents a sea change for the industry, which for years was content to operate largely unregulated. “We’ve been operating in this gray area for a long time, and, up until now, it hasn’t really been a problem,” says Peter Schoenke, chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which hired about 65 lobbying firms in 44 states to push bills favorable to the industry. “What we want to do in all of these states is to clarify that it is legal.” A 2006 federal law banned online gambling but specifically exempted fantasy sports, paving the way for the creation of the niche industry that has exploded in popularity, prompting policymakers to take a closer look. Companies such as Boston’s DraftKings and New York’s FanDuel have argued their contests aren’t gambling because the games require more skill than luck. But where it once shied away from heavy oversight, the industry is embracing limited regulation, as long as it isn’t subjected to the same exacting standards as traditional gambling operations.