Fantasy sports industry says bill will put games on hold
Thousands of Connecticut residents who play fantastic sports for money using online companies could be sidelined for the next NFL season if legislation passing through the state’s General Assembly becomes law, the industry warns.
The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association also argues that the bill, approved in the Connecticut House of Representatives last week and currently awaiting Senate action, would limit the number of operators to two, when in fact there are dozens of games and contests offered by other companies.
“I think there was probably a mindset that this industry is just FanDuel and DraftKings. It’s so much bigger than that, ”said Peter Schoenke, owner of RotoWire.com and a member of the association’s board of directors, which calls on lawmakers to make changes to the bill.
He said the industry was “blinded” by the law because it had not been consulted. As currently written, Schoenke said the bill will not allow any fantasy sports businesses to operate in Connecticut after July 1 and until the state puts in place a licensing system and that these companies are ultimately approved for a license.
“They really made a mistake that’s going to really hurt the fantastic sports players in the state of Connecticut who are going to be unable, in the short term and probably this football season, to be able to play fantastic sports. And in the longer term, (they) will only be able to participate in a few of the competitions offered by our industry, ”he said.
Schoenke predicted it could take six months to two years for companies to license, based on what he’s seen in other states. He noted how the 25 states with fantastic sports laws have made it possible for companies already in operation to continue with the license application process so that fans are not disrupted.
“They didn’t take down all the businesses and then restart them,” he said.
The industry estimates that there are around 600,000 people in the state who participate in fantastic sports competitions, which typically involve players putting together teams of professional athletes and earning points based on the performance of those. athletes in real games. However, the vast majority of fantasy sports players don’t play with a company and pay an entry fee.
Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said the agency was “actively working on regulations” simultaneously for fantasy sports, sports betting and Internet lottery, based on the proposed legislation. The bill does not set a deadline by which regulations must be completed.
Messages have been left with state lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont’s office seeking to respond to industry concerns.
Last week, the state House of Representatives voted 122-21 in favor of a long-awaited gambling deal his administration’s Democratic governor struck in March with the two federally recognized Native American tribes. It creates a new framework to legalize and regulate in-person and online sports betting, online casino games, in-person and online keno, online raffle games, and fantasy sports.
Ultimately, the 10-year deal, which essentially allows the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes and the Connecticut Lottery Corporation to operate these games, will need to be approved by the US Department of the Interior.
The bill allows tribes to hold fantasy contests at their casinos on reservation lands, at the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, and off reservations, online. In exchange, the state will receive a share of these revenues.
Fantastic sports companies have been operating in Connecticut for years. They argued that it was a game of skill and not a gambling game, so it is not an illegal activity.
However, legislation was passed in 2017 specifically legalizing fantasy sports contests and requiring contest organizers to provide consumer protection to players, register with the state, and pay taxes and fees. ‘registration. However, those requirements were based on a sports betting and gambling agreement between the state and the tribes, which have exclusive rights to casino games in Connecticut. It only happened this year.