Fantasy Football, Basketball, Hockey,
Golf, Soccer, Auto Racing, etc.
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, April 28, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
On January 25th, Cedartown Representative Trey Kelley introduced H.B. 118 entitled, “Fantasy Contests Act,” so let me explain why I’m glad his bill did not pass.
DraftKings.com that was founded in Boston in 2012 quickly became a huge Daily Fantasy Sports site that paid $75 million in outside funding to gobble up two major competitors. DraftKings.com was so successful that the Wall Street Journal wrote about it, and so did theBoston Globe, Business Wire, Forbes, Tech Crunch, the New York Times and several others. Also, you might’ve noticed DraftKings [sic] ads on TV and radio.
Fantasy sports gambling began with the NFL but expanded into baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, soccer and auto racing. Players win REAL CASH PRIZES, and DraftKings proudly boasts of paying out $2 billion since it went into business. If $2 billion went to winners, think how much more than that DraftKings pocketed in a business that’s illegal in Georgia!
The Georgia Attorney General’s office declared that “fantasy sports constitutes illegal gambling and are not allowed under Georgia law.” Also, Congress voted overwhelmingly in 2006 to extend the federal interstate gambling ban to the internet. However, fantasy sports gambling has been shoved through a tiny loophole in the federal law and has become so popular that, today, the 50 million fantasy sports gamblers outnumber gamblers in Las Vegas!In 2015 the chairman and CEO of one of the biggest Las Vegas casinos said politicians are “absolutely, utterly wrong” pretending fantasy football is not gambling. “I don’t know how to run a football team, but I do know how to run a casino, and this is gambling.” A bookmaker in England said, “Nobody is in favor of unregulated internet gambling and that’s exactly what daily fantasy sports is.”
Georgia’s H.B. 118 provides free play for beginners and promises big prizes the state will tax. H.B. 118, also, states that reasonable steps will be taken to insure that no person under 18 will be allowed to gamble, while, simultaneously, promising to inform players about compulsive behavior.
The provisions of H.B. 118 clearly indicate big trouble is ahead if Georgia allows fantasy sports gambling. H.B. 118 did not pass this year, but it’s still alive for the 2018 session. Between now and then, ask your representative and senator to vote NO on any bill that would legalize fantasy sports. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.