Colorado may endorse fantasy sports

April 07, 2016 12:50 PM
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Lawmakers across the country are continuing their efforts to explore daily fantasy sports competition as a tool for generating tax revenue.

There is a need to move quickly in some states because legislatures in several states are nearing adjournment.

Colorado may be joining the game of regulating fantasy online sports leagues that pay jackpots. A House committee started work this week on a bill to create a new state Office of Fantasy Sports. Sponsors say that people who use daily fantasy sports betting sites like FanDuel and DraftKings deserve assurances the games are fair.

“This is an effort to make sure… that we have regulations in place that show Coloradans they have a fair shot to win in some of those games,” said Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver and sponsor of the bill.

The Denver Broncos have endorsed the Colorado action.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper says he’s not sure state regulation is needed. “I am generally a smaller-government person. I don’t think we need to continually look at more bureaucracy.” 

Lawmakers in states such as Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Illinois are debating the myriad issues related to DFS but the likelihood is that there may not be action before current sessions end.

The proposed Colorado  Office of Fantasy Sports would charge fantasy betting sites a to-be-determined fee and require them to install certain safeguards, such as limiting players to adults over 18 and banning employees and their relatives from competing in the games. Fantasy jackpot companies would also have to submit to audits and keep fantasy contest player money separate from operational funds.

Sponsors of the measure say it would send a strong message that Colorado considers fantasy sports jackpots games of skill, not chance, meaning they’re permissible and not illegal gambling.

“Contestants in these games essentially play the role of a general manager,” explained Rep. Cole Wist, R-Centennial and another sponsor of the bill. “A lot of time and effort and skill goes into selecting these rosters.”

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: PhilHevener@GamingToday.com.