Even if you’re not a sports fan, you’ve probably heard of DraftKings or FanDuel, two fantasy sports websites that offer cash winnings to online contestants. The sites gained enormous popularity this season with the National Football League, garnering air time and sponsorships at stadiums.
They’ve also created controversy.
Multiple bills are filed in the General Assembly aiming to legalize and regulate such sites under state code. The regulations considered will act to help protect those interested in partaking in what some call online sport betting.
At least two states – New York and Illinois – have already created regulatory measures to ban the sites. Since the issue is of state interest, there is no federal oversight. FanDuel and DraftKings both have hired lobbyists in many states to represent their interests in a hope to gain protection. Del. Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax) is a co-patron of one of the House versions of the bill, HB 751 .
Proponents of DraftKings and FanDuel say their playing is based on skill and not chance. While game types differ, contestants largely set a weekly lineup of players to gain points for their self-designed teams, much like traditional office pools.
HB call for limitations on the age of players and the baring of site employees from playing or providing insider information. Any violations would incur a $1,000 civil penalty. Registration fees would also be incurred under Del. Jackson Miller’s HB 775 (R-Manassas) — $50,000 per operator registration with the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The department would conduct yearly audits on the operators.
The bill by Simon – co sponsored by Del. Paul Krizek (D-Fairfax) – allows for oversight power to the attorney general. It would also include a provision asking operators check for child support obligations and any outstanding tax liens before a player earns more than $1,000 on an established game payout.
Both bills are in committee.