MGM Resorts gives DFS testimony before Congress

May 13, 2016 8:21 AM

The fast growing pastime that is daily fantasy sports betting will benefit from a healthy dose of clarity.

It needs to be freed from the tangle of conflicting rules and thoughts about what it is or is not. It needs clearly stated consumer protections.

John M. McManus, the executive vice president and general counsel for MGM Resorts said as much during his recent testimony in Washington before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

“DFS,” he said, “was born into a legal and regulatory framework that had not anticipated either its creation nor its rapid rise in popularity. The resulting lack of legal clarity has proven a challenge for DFS operators, raised uncertainty for consumers who enjoy the activity and created a dilemma for political leaders and government officials who are not sure what, if anything, to do about the product.”

McManus continued,“I sincerely hope we collectively  solve these problems, so that enthusiasts may continue to participate in these contests with appropriate consumer protections and regulatory supervision.

McManus noted that during recent months  there has been “much debate”about whether DFS constitutes gambling. 

Some lawmakers in states where fantasy wagering has been found to be in conflict with existing laws immediately launched efforts to change the law and make it legal. McManus told members of the House committee that whether DFS is a game of skill or a gamble is relevant only to the extent this distinction “influences the willingness of professional and amateur sports leagues and governing bodies to embrace this activity.”

He said, “DFS has already been embraced by all major professional sports leagues and many teams in this country; thus, the debate about whether it is or is not gambling does not advance DFS public policy discussions in any meaningful way.

Stressing that MGM does not view DFS as a “competitive threat, McManus said, “If state law provides that DFS is a legal activity then the real policy discussion should be focused on the nature and scope of consumer protections and regulation.”

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].