Georgia lawmakers are set to legalize and regulate fantasy sports

Georgia lawmakers are set to legalize and regulate fantasy sports

March 22, 2017 9:54 AM
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Georgia lawmakers are set to complete passage of a bill to legalize and regulate fantasy sports. The initiative received support this week from former Atlanta Brave and Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine. 

The continuing issue over fantasy sports is whether it’s gambling. If it is, it would be illegal. The new bill expressly calls fantasy sports events “contests” not gambling and therefore, makes them legal.

"I argue that it’s more of a game of skill," Glavine told assembled local media Tuesday.  He revealed he is a fantasy sports player and counts himself among the estimated one and a half million Georgians who participate.

"It enhances and changes, quite honestly, the way I watch games sometimes," Glavin said.  "And on the other side of it as a player, I know the connection it brought with people to their favorite athlete."

Glavine and other backers contend that as a game of skill, fantasy sports isn't gambling.  The proposed bill requires adherence to state regulations as well as registration and fees from larger operators.

The bill has already passed the House and cleared a Senate committee

But opponents like Mike Griffin liken this bill to this year’s stalled casino bill that never used the word “casino.” Griffin of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said, "I think they need to be intellectually honest and say, this is gambling."