Sunday January 25 ,2015 : BID TO LEGALISE FANTASY SPORTS BETTING IN WASHINGTON STATE
Sen. Pam Roach's bill argues skill vs. luck to justify legalization.
Washington State's notoriously draconian laws against online gambling could soon be amended – at least as regards daily fantasy sports – if a legislative proposal by state Sen. Pam Roach gains traction.
Washington is one of the few states that regards even online fantasy sports betting as illegal despite federal exemptions, but Roach and other lawmakers feel it's time to recognise that skill dominates chance in the genre, and it should therefore be permitted.
Roach estimates that over half a million residents in the state use fantasy sports sites, a number that is growing as the daily fantasy sports trend continues to gather momentum
Commenting on the issue this week, Roach observed:
“Our state sees fantasy football as a game of chance – a felony crime. Congress has long considered fantasy football to be a game of skill. My bill will change the state’s definition.”
Passage of such a bill would be welcomed by the major fantasy sports companies like FanDuel and DraftKings, which have been trying to block Washington residents in order to comply with the state's otherwise unsuccessful attempts to keep fantasy sports out of Washington.
Certainly legality will bring additional business from players who would prefer to use big brands that are heavily marketed, safe and offer good promotions.
Roach is likely to encounter opposition from the conservative Washington State Gambling Commission, which still regards fantasy sports as a game of chance under current laws.
The senator has stressed that her bill does not seek to change existing laws prohibiting betting on real-world sporting events, and she has the support of the increasingly influential Fantasy Sports Trade Association, an industry group based in Chicago and representing the interests of leading companies in the business.
The Association claims that fantasy sports is legal in 45 other states, and that more than 41 million players across America and Canada now play, over half of them betting real money.