Alabama Daily Fantasy Sports Bill Throttled to Death on Senate Floor
Posted on: March 15, 2018, 06:00h.
Last updated on: March 15, 2018, 05:33h.
Alabama’s daily fantasy sports bill went down in flames in the State Senate on Wednesday.
Despite being unanimously approved by the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee earlier this month, Senator Paul Sanford’s bill didn’t even make the vote yesterday – a fate that has befallen both of the dogged senator’s previous attempts to legalize DFS in the state.
Sanford’s bill would have regulated the daily fantasy sports contests through the establishment of the Fantasy Contests Act, in a state from which DraftKings and FanDuel were expelled two years ago by order of the then-attorney general, Luther Strange.
In April 2016, Strange sent cease and desist letters to the two DFS giants warning them that “paid daily fantasy sports are in fact illegal gambling” in Alabama. The sites reluctantly complied after officially voicing their disagreement with the AG’s opinion.
Alabama code section 13A-20-12, defines gambling as an activity where a someone “stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”
DraftKings said it would “look forward to continued and constructive engagement with state legislators,” which meant it planned to unleash its lobbyists.
Lottery Bill on Life Support
Apart from the class II electronic bingo machine gaming offered at Alabama’s three native American casinos, and parimutuel betting at its three dog tracks, gambling is illegal in the state. The dog tracks have also tried to offer bingo machines, but the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that bingo is “illegal in all its forms.”
In fact, Alabama is one of just six states in the US that doesn’t even have a lottery – and it’s expected to stay that way this year, which doesn’t bode well for Sanford’s other bill currently floating round the legislature – a bill to establish a lottery.
For Sanford’s lottery dream to become a reality, Alabama would have to amend its constitution to legalize commercial gaming through a public referendum, an idea that has little support in the legislature. When the same question was put to the public in 1999, it was emphatically rejected by voters.
Despite his lottery bill being approved by a Senate committee last month, Sanford has suggested his odds of passing this one are “slim to none.”
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