Even Fantasy Sports are Not Safe From the Courts

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: October 22, 2015

Even Fantasy Sports are Not Safe From the Courts

Last week, CEO Jason Robins discussed the legality of fantasy sports at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

(NOTE: The Las Vegas Review-Journal, ESPN, the Buffalo News and the Arizona Republic covered his remarks.)

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 seeks to cut off funds for illegal Internet gaming while carving out an exception for fantasy sports that meet certain requirements…

In other words, the requirements include that winning outcomes “be determined by statistical results and reflect the skill of the players.”

Robins said “fantasy sports is like chess or the stock market.”

Robins explains that the players become more skilled as they play, and the game is analytical, he said.

Fantasy sports websites don’t operate in at least five states—Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington.

Those states have banned fantasy sports payouts or the laws there are unfriendly, according to the Arizona Republic…

A New York Times op-ed says “players pay entry fees ranging from 25 cents to several thousand dollars to win awards ranging from a few dollars to more than $1 million.”

The newspaper raised questions about whether fantasy sports can be “addictive” and says “the exemption should not be used as an argument in favor of legalized sports betting.”

The issue of where such sports should be legalized across the board is being raised amid a looming scandal in the fantasy sports industry.

The scandal being an employee of DraftKings who confessed *inadvertently* to releasing data and then winning $350,000 at the sports fantasy website FanDuel the same week.

DraftKings released a statement stating  “employees of both websites have won money from other fantasy sports websites.”

Both companies claim that they temporarily won’t let their employees play the games at other websites and the employees are banned from play at their own companies.

The companies also say access to data by employees is rigorously monitored…

According to the Times, “The episode has raised questions about who at daily fantasy companies has access to valuable data, such as which players a majority of the money is being bet on; how it is protected; and whether the industry can—or wants—to police itself.”

Thank you to the ABA Journal for originally publishing this story.

Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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