Pallone: Shouldn’t We Treat Fantasy Sports Like Gambling?
New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone (D-6) is questioning whether fantasy sports websites are legal.
“Anyone who watched a game this weekend was inundated by commercials for fantasy sports websites, and it’s only the first week of the NFL season,” Pallone said in a letter making the request to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “These sites are enormously popular, arguably central to the fans’ experience, and professional leagues are seeing the enormous profits as a result. Despite how mainstream these sites have become, the legal landscape governing these activities remains murky and should be reviewed.”
The congressman, who has served parts of Monmouth and Middlesex counties since 1988, specifically mentions the sites DraftKings and FanDuel as having relationships with professional leagues. The Washington Post reports that Major League Baseball has a small equity share of DraftKings and the NBA owns a share of FanDuel.
Sports betting is illegal in most states. However, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) specifically exempts fantasy sports games that meet certain criteria under what's known as the fantasy sports "carve out."
Pallone said he's concerned that the loophole has "blurred the line" between gambling and fantasy sports, and wonders what the difference is betting on the outcome of a game and profiting from a player's individual performance.
Pallone said he's an advocate of legalized and regulated pro sports betting in New Jersey and believes the state is being "robbed" of the chance to reap the financial rewards of the billion-dollar sports betting industry.
“Legal sports betting will have a significant and positive impact on New Jersey, bringing tourism and tax revenue to the state and reinvigorating Atlantic City and our racetracks, including Monmouth Park," he wrote.