Wisconsin Daily Fantasy Sports Bill Ready for Kickoff

Posted on: February 6, 2017, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: February 6, 2017, 03:18h.

A Wisconsin daily fantasy sports (DFS) will soon make its way back to the state capital in Madison should a lawmaker stay true to his word.

Wisconsin daily fantasy sports Tyler Vorpagel
At just 31 years old, Wisconsin State Rep. Tyler Vorpagel might be better inclined than his legislative seniors at understanding the need to regulate daily fantasy sports. (Image: Wisconsin State Representative Tyler Vorpagel)

State Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (R-District 27) revealed his plans this week to renew efforts to classify the online contests as skill-based engagements. The assemblyman believes outcomes of DFS games rely more heavily on a player’s skill and knowledge than pure luck.

Speaking with a local FOX affiliate in Milwaukee, Vorpagel said he doesn’t believe DFS constitutes gambling. The politician explained he will soon reintroduce legislation to fully authorize fantasy sports in the Badger State.

In the meantime, the online contests continue to be offered in Wisconsin. And though the NFL season is officially over, the two biggest DFS players, DraftKings and FanDuel, are continuing to offer games on basketball, golf, soccer, and more to Wisconsin natives.

Second Go Around

It was a year ago last month that Vorpagel first introduced a bill to legalize DFS.

Assembly Bill 800 sought to force daily fantasy operators like DraftKings and FanDuel to register with the state’s Department of Financial Institutions. The certification process would have come with a one-time price tag of $150,000, and annual renewal set at $30,000.

The legislation only required operators that offered crash prizes to 750 or more players in any given tournament to file with the state. That theoretically would have protected smaller DFS sites that are competing for market share.

AB 800 didn’t specify whether licensed DFS operators would additionally pay taxes on their gross gaming revenues. The statute never made it out of the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on State Affairs and Government Operators, and ultimately died after the 2016 legislative session concluded.

“Recent news reports and legal actions taken in other states makes it clear to me that it is important to codify into Wisconsin Statute that daily fantasy sports continues to be a legal activity and provide for a certain amount of regulatory oversight and consumer protections,” Vorpagel said of his legislation in 2016.

Mad in Madison

Not everyone is happy to learn that Vorpagel is resuming his DFS efforts.

“The object of any such bill is to project a false appearance of regulation and create the impression this is being done on behalf of consumers,” Wisconsin Family Council President Julaine Appling said in a Citizens Against Expanded Gambling press release late last month. “In this case, the effect is the legalization of internet gambling.”

The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling released a shocking headline recently that showed the average Wisconsinite who is addicted to gambling is in debt to the tune of more than $38,000.

However, WalletHub, a personal finance website that also publishes economic research papers, concluded in 2016 that Wisconsin had one of the lowest rates of gambling disorders.

The Badger State followed only Florida, New Mexico, and Indiana in keeping its residents clear of betting addiction.