Georgia Won’t Pass DFS Regulation Bill, Deems it Gambling
The fight for daily fantasy sports to thrive on it’s own, separate from sports gambling, lives on. Except in Georgia. Per reports, a bill to regulate DFS in the state of Georgia was not acted upon recently, despite strong efforts from Georgia state Senator, Renee Unterman.
Georgia Attorney General W. Wright Banks Jr. expressed firmly that daily fantasy sports were “not authorized under Georgia law”. Georgia’s decisions to not allow the bill to continue, at least for now, renders it a “dead” bill.
Banks let this be known in a letter that was a written response to a GLC request for clarification on the matter (whether or not daily fantasy sports constituted as gambling) back in October. Per Georgia law, only certain betting is permitted, while anything including “chance” that includes the opportunity for someone to “win or lose something of value” is deemed illegal, even when “accompanied by some skill”.
Unterman had tried to push a consumer protection bill that would separate DFS from state gambling statues, but on Monday the bill did not come up for a vote. The bill (Senate Bill 352) sought to set standards for operations and payouts for daily fantasy sports companies (mainly DraftKings and FanDuel). In addition, the bill would have protected underage players (no one under 18 could play) and would have also mandated that companies register in the state if they had players there. Initial fees were proposed for $50,000, with a charge of $10,000 annually.
DraftKings issued a response:
We are disappointed that the Georgia Lottery Corporation is seeking to bar Georgia citizens from continuing to enjoy the fantasy sports they love.
There is no legal or other basis for depriving Georgians of this popular recreational activity. DFS is a legitimate business activity that has operated openly and permissibly in Georgia for years. It is the citizens of Georgia, through their elected representatives, who should decide whether they can continue to enjoy fantasy sports.
DraftKings will therefore support legislation that regulates fantasy sports with thoughtful and appropriate consumer protections, and we urge Georgians to tell their elected representatives that they want to be able to continue to enjoy fantasy sports.
The plight for DFS to distance itself from any illegality rages on elsewhere in the United States, with Georgia at least temporarily joining Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Mississippi, Texas and Vermont on the list of states that have declared daily fantasy sports to be illegal gambling.
Calling sports betting and online poker gambling is itself fairly subjective, and the perception on the rules and laws in DFS continue to be just as blurred. State laws continue to be fuzzy at best in terms of their view of daily fantasy sports, especially since most states do allow some form of gambling already. That, plus some odd language as to why DFS is illegal could present a challenge for the top daily fantasy operators. The industry has made enough headway (approaching success in Vermont) to continue pushing back, however.
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