Louisiana bill could fulfil fantasy

Louisiana bill could fulfil fantasy

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Last week, fantasy sports operator DraftKings was rumoured to be the subject of a $200m-plus (€186m) investment from the Walt Disney Company, a further sign of that sector's huge growth in the US.

With millions of participants and high-profile partnerships with sports leagues and teams, the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel have been able to record rocketing revenues across a nation in which online gambling is legal in just three states.

However, despite their growth, real-money fantasy sports games remain illegal in five states, but that could change after a bill in Louisiana, following moves in Iowa, Washington, Indiana and Kansas, aimed at bringing the quintet in line with the rest of the US.

Louisiana State Representative Joseph Lopinto seeks clarification that playing fantasy sports is not a form of online gambling, and argues that the games - defined as games of skill and not chance in federal law - should be allowed.

“We’re not betting on the outcome of a game or a point spread. Fantasy football is a game of skill,” Lopinto said.

The federal legality of fantasy sports is defined by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA).

The bill specifically exempts fantasy sports games, educational games, or any online contest that "has an outcome that reflects the relative knowledge of the participants, or their skill at physical reaction or physical manipulation (but not chance), and, in the case of a fantasy or simulation sports game, has an outcome that is determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of sporting events, including any non-participant's individual performances in such sporting events..."

Iowa’s Senate passed Senate File 166 last month, defining fantasy sports as a game of skill, while two separate bills submitted in Washington in January, look to have the games classified as skill as opposed to gambling.

Indiana Representative Alan Morrison introduced two separate sports betting bills in the state in the same month, one of which included fantasy sports, while Representative Brett Hildabrand introduced a fantasy sports bill in Kansas in February.

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