Wednesday, April 6, 2016 : COLORADO LAWMAKERS HEAR TESTIMONY ON DAILY FANTASY SPORTS
Experts spell out the need for regulation.
Colorado legislators heard testimony on daily fantasy sports regulation at an informative hearing Tuesday before a House Committee.
House Democratic leader Crisanta Duran said the goal of HB1404 – a proposal to regulate daily fantasy sports leagues – is to ensure the games stay legal, fair and protect consumers.
“This is an effort to make sure the 800,000 Coloradans who play fantasy sports online can continue to do so, but also make sure the games are fair,” the Denver Democrat told a House committee.
Colorado currently deems DFS competitions games of skill and not gambling, and the committee considered a letter from the Denver Broncos, who are a part of NFL.com’s fantasy league site, in support of the bill.
HB1404 is aimed at daily fantasy sports leagues, and would apply to leagues with at least 7,500 players. Free games and fantasy leagues among friends would not be covered. The bill would require leagues to register with the state, which is to create an Office of Fantasy Sports within the state Department of Regulatory Affairs to oversee background checks on operators.
Players would have to be 18 years old, and there are provisions to guard against underage or problem gambling.
The committee discussed differentiating between skilled and experienced players and more vulnerable novice players, with a representative from DraftKings assuring committee members that his company could do this, as it was directed to in Massachusetts.
Bill co-sponsor Rep. Cole Wist said HB1404 is regulation the industry needs in order to preserve a popular, profitable pastime.
“In a sports-crazy place like Colorado, the demand is only going to go up,” Wist said, adding the bill would not micromanage or over-regulate the industry.
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates there are 800,000 fantasy league players in Colorado, but acknowledges that only about 150,000 of those use the pay-for-play sites.
In related news, The Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has taken the negative path on DFS, issuing a statement Tuesday in which he joins 11 other US state AGs in opining that DFS constitutes illegal gambling.
The Associated Press news agency reports that AG Strange has emulated the New York AG in sending a cease and desist order to market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel, requiring them to halt operations by May 1 or face the consequences.
InfoPowa readers will recall that DraftKings and FanDuel have stopped service for New York players pending a judicial decision on the genre's legality.
“Daily fantasy sports operators claim that they operate legally under Alabama law. However, paid daily fantasy sports contests are in fact illegal gambling under Alabama law,” Strange claimed in a press release, adding that an activity is considered illegal gambling if a person bets anything of value on a contest of chance to win a prize, even when skill is part of the betting process.