New Jersey congressman Frank Pallone Jr. has called for a congressional hearing to review the legality of daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel.
“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 statement. “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.”
Daily fantasy sites offer cash prizes to players who pay to participate, but have been able to operate legally thanks to the fantasy sports exemption in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Pallone calls the UIGEA exemption a “loophole” that “has blurred the lines between betting conducted through fantasy sports sites and online gambling.”
“Fans are currently allowed to risk money on the performance of an individual player,” Pallone said. “How is that different than wagering money on the outcome of a game?”
Pallone’s home state recently tried, and failed, to legalize sports betting, a measure Pallone supported. Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law last year legalizing sports betting but the law was struck down by a federal court for violating the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.
DraftKings has an exclusive multi-year sponsorship deal with MLB, as does the NHL. The NBA has a league-wide arrangement with FanDuel. Several individual NFL teams have agreements with either company.
- Dan Gartland