Thursday February 11,2016 : CALIFORNIA TRIBES CONCERNED OVER PROGRESS OF DAILY FANTASY SPORTS BILL (Update)
Hitherto silent tribes write to committee chairman.
If you've been wondering when the tribes are going to weigh in on the surprisingly unopposed progress of California's daily fantasy sports bill AB1437 the suspense ended Wednesday when the Sacremento Bee newspaper revealed that the Morongo Band and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have written to Assemblyman Adam Gray expressing concern over the rapid progress of his DFS bill.
Our readers will recall that Asemblyman Gray chairs the state Governmental Organization Committee and was chiefly responsible for pushing the DFS regulatory bill through the Assembly on an overwhelming 62 vs. 1 vote earlier this year, sending the measure to the state Senate.
The Morongo and San Manuel bands are powerful tribal interests that have played an important role in the still unresolved struggle for online poker legalization in California; they are part of an alliance pushing for a fair and equitable intrastate licensing and regulatory regime that includes leading state cardrooms and Amaya's Pokerstars operational giant.
The Sacremento Bee reports that the Morongo correspondence suggests that the tribe is worried about the legality of daily fantasy sports (and presumably its potential impact on tribal interests). The tribe considers DFS to be a form of gambling and is concerned at the "dangerous" approval of the genre simply because it is so popular.
The San Manuel letter compares the rapid progress of the DFS bill with the seven or eight years that have been spent haggling over the legalization nitty gritty of online poker in California, contrasting that with the fast-tracked DFS bill which the tribe claims has received very little vetting or deliberation.
Both tribes suggest in their letters that the current situation could present an opportunity to turn AB1437 into a wider vehicle for the legalization of online gambling.
Industry observers have opined that the easy progress of the DFS bill through the Assembly may not be replicated when it comes up for debate in the state Senate, where the tribes may take issue and demand that similar regulatory restrictions as those proposed for online poker be imposed.
In related news, a series of tweets on the Wallachlegal channel have revealed that daily fantasy sports firm FanDuel has been tightening its belt with the lay-off of 55 employees in its Florida office.
The channel also reports on interesting developments regarding New Jersey's appeal against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act currently set for hearing next week in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
Apparently the US Department of Justice have asked to be represented at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals hearing. The request has the support of the national sports leagues opposing New Jersey, but it has been opposed by New Jersey legal representatives.
And there is speculation that the DFS issue could be used to illustrate the inequity of the sports betting restrictions; Wallach has suggested that a good question for the Department of Justice might be: "Why does the USA enforce PASPA only against NJ, but not against states that legalize DFS?"