Sunday January 24,2016 : REGULATE ALL ONLINE GAMBLING, SAYS L.A. TIMES
Time for the Legislature to stand up to competing gambling interest groups and adopt safeguards across online gaming.
The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times again came out in support of regulated online gambling in California at the weekend, suggesting in an op-ed piece that the time has come for lawmakers to stand up to competing self-interested groups that have repeatedly side-tracked the legalization of online poker, and implement an across-the-board regulatory approach to daily fantasy sports and indeed all forms of online gambling.
The article focuses on the currently high-profile DFS genre, noting that it is likely to run the same gauntlet of self-interested groups as online poker has experienced over several years, and suggesting that lawmakers are already behind the curve as they grapple with whether to regulate or ban the genre.
It may be too late to ban fantasy sports in California, the article speculates, given that the vertical has already become a large part of the online gaming phenomenon, drawing in literally millions of players
"The leagues have drawn millions of players, just as online poker sites have developed huge followings regardless of their legality," the piece observes. "The fact that fantasy sports leagues and other online games are legal in some jurisdictions means that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to stop people from playing them even where they are illegal.
"The smart approach is to regulate the leagues, ideally within the context of a comprehensive approach to online gaming. That way the state can protect consumers against fly-by-night sites while requiring companies to use sophisticated technology to block minors and problem gamblers, pay fees that can be used for oversight and enforcement, and guard consumers against insiders competing unfairly for jackpots."
The piece ends with the observation that online poker is once again on the table in the state Legislature and is likely to again encounter "internecine battles among the state's licensed gaming businesses."
It concludes that the argument for setting up a safer environment for fantasy sports games applies in spades to online poker, commenting:
“It's time for the Legislature to stand up to the competing gambling interest groups and adopt safeguards that apply across the online gaming boards."