Gambling bills are coming thick and fast in Georgia. Two casino bills presented to the legislature in Atlanta this week have been joined by “The Fantasy Contest Act,” which offers the state a second crack of the whip at legalizing daily fantasy sports (DFS).
The wheels came off its only previous attempt in February last year, when State Attorney General Wright Banks Jr. declared DFS contests were not games of skill, because a participant is “just as likely to win one tournament, then lose the next tournament due to the performance of players outside of the participant’s control.”
The informal opinion had been sought by the Georgia Lottery, which opposed DFS regulation in the state. Almost immediately, the state’s DFS bill, which had recently been passed by a Senate committee hearing, was dropped by the Senate like a stone.
“Games of Skill are Allowed”
Hoping for more success than their predecessor are five state representatives whose bill seeks to “provide for the licensing, registration, regulation, and taxation of fantasy contest operators.”
Testifying at a hearing of the bill on Wednesday in the House Ways and Means Committee, State Representative Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) insisted DFS was a game of skill that required study and practice.
“I have serious reservations about pure gambling in our state, but games of skill are already allowed,” he said. “Golf tournaments, bass fishing tournaments, skeet shoots. We already allow those. I just see this as the proper classification.”
The bill would lay down a set of player protections, as well as sliding scale of licensing fees, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the size of the company applying.
FanDuel’s Call to Action in Florida
Meanwhile, FanDuel has been contacting its players in Florida, urging them to make their feelings heard to local lawmakers. The “call to action” comes in advance of a scheduled Senate committee hearing on a new gambling expansion package, introduced two weeks ago by Senator Bill Gavano.
“The fact is that current laws have not kept pace with technology,” FanDuel told its Floridian customers. “Unless legislators are willing to deny millions of Floridians the right to play America’s newest national pastime, they must act quickly to update the law by passing legislation that protects your right to play.”
Florida also unsuccessfully attempted to legalize DFS last year when an ongoing dispute with the Seminole tribe over the right to offer blackjack took precedence. Galvano’s comprehensive legislation seeks to address all of the state’s gambling issues, including DFS regulation, in one bill.
What Happened to the DraftKings/FanDuel Merger, Anyway?
Remember last fall when the merger of these two daily fantasy sports giants was all over the news? The holidays came and went, and January is wrapping up, and no one’s heard a word about it. Why?
One theory is anti-trust issues. According to Forbes‘ Marc Edelman (who admits he is a consultant for an unnamed DFS provider now butting legal heads with DraftKings), while it may be playing out behind the scenes in a variety of ways, the lack of public forward motion on the much-touted merger most likely means something is stalled, and it’s most likely stalled over anti-trust problems.
The legalities that surround the formation of industry monopolies that could potentially stymie competitors with their united power, including driving up prices and all that this could entail, may be keeping the merger in court, or at the very least, working together backstage to prevent that from happening.