While many states are debating whether or not daily fantasy sports truly is gambling, Virginia has its own idea. That idea is to add legislation that would provide legal backing to popular websites such as FanDuel and DraftKings. Three new bills have been put forth by the General Assembly that would backup these contests as legal and allow regulations to help protect consumers. So far the House has already filed two versions, and the Senate has their own on the way.
According to Del. Jackson H, Miller, a patron of one of the house bills, “over 1 million Virginians play these, and I do have concerns about people wanting to come in and just shut the concept down.”
Co-patron of the other House bill, Marcus B. Simon, explains that “my interest in proposing this legislation is to protect the industry. To protect the concept that we can do this as a recreational activity without having it creep too far over the line into something that looks like an addictive form of gambling.”
FanDuel and DraftKings have hired the Richmond lobbying firm Capital Results to help represent their Virginia plan. They explain that their contests offer traditional fantasy sports games, yet give players an opportunity to win real money.
Some states, such as Illinois and New York, have declared that this is illegal. In order not to let this happen again in the future daily fantasy sports sites plan to push for legislation that would give them legal ground to stand on.
Simon explained that the games were not completely gambling because the sites even allow players to generate a fantasy sports team while playing for free. Simon even allows his 10-year-old son to play these free daily fantasy sports games.
“Even though you’re sort of bombarded with, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be even more fun if we could make this a little more interesting?’ I think we need to make sure we lay out the framework and lay out what the parameters of this are going to be. And set some boundaries,” Simon said.
The suggested protections included in the bill are to limit games to players 18 years of age, prohibit employees of the sites from playing, and allow players to request self-imposed bans. Some have also requested that companies keep players funds separate from operational funds. There would also be a small civil penalty of $1000 for those people who violate the rules.
Sen. Ryan T. McDouglesays “It’s not expansive. It’s not burdensome. But it does put in some protection for consumers.”
There are only a couple of differences between the two House plans. One would require an annual fee of $50,000 to be paid for the state and registration fees. These would help to cover the Department of Agriculture And Consumer Services annual audit fees. The other plan would only be overseen and audited by the Attorney General.
It seems that Attorney General Mark R. Herring is not against these plans, and says the issue is “a policy decision for the general assembly.”
DraftKings Director of Public Affairs Griffin Finan is fully behind the plan and stated that “We recognize our responsibility to the millions of fans who are captivated by the excitement of fantasy sports and are eager to work with the legislature to ensure Virginians can continue to play the game they love.”