There has been a long-standing contentious debate over gambling in sports. Making gaming legal in Fantasy Sports is on the ballot for the midterm elections, and it is something that would affect sport enthusiasts and sport lovers alike.
Fantasy Sports contests are simulated sports games played via the internet or mobile devices in which participants create teams based on the current rosters of actual amateur or professional sports teams. Players are able to win prizes and awards. Fantasy Sports games feature an entry fee, administrative fees, and a prize pool for winners. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is a subset of Fantasy Sports games played across a short period of time.
Earlier this summer, Louisiana State Representative Kirk Talbot of District 78 sponsored a bill that would allow Fantasy Sports participants to bet on their games. The bill would also legalize paid-entry contests in the state. Talbot emphasized the importance of Daily Fantasy Sports in that it would help the state lessen the burden of raising taxes.
The majority of voters in each parish must vote for Fantasy Sports to be legalized for it to successfully pass. There are 64 parishes total in Louisiana, so it’ll be comparable to a vote at the county level.
The Louisiana Fantasy Sports Contests Act removes the state-level prohibition against DFS contests. If the governor approves the bill, each parish will determine for itself whether or not to permit the activity.
Here’s what the bill includes:
- Exempts Fantasy Sports from the definition of gambling
- Gives oversight to Louisiana Gaming Control Board
- Permits contests based on amateur events
Why should people be aware of this bill? If this is approved, then licensing, regulation and taxation will have to be considered for each parish.
A major concern with this proposal is that the lawmakers didn’t address issues like how much taxes the state would impose on DFS games or the fees that these operators would pay in order to operate in Louisiana. Clarification is also needed on how the money that is earned from the DFS tournaments will be spent.
On one hand, it is believed that legalizing Fantasy Sports would bring the community closer. Ted Leonsis who is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment said, “It’s not hard to imagine in the near future fans on their devices analyzing data, placing bets and communicating with each other in real time during games. Legalized sports betting will only bring fans closer to the game, ramping up the action in each minute and creating more intensity.”
Not everyone, however, is pleased with the idea of allowing more gaming in Louisiana. Our state has a history of a gambling problem. Janet Miller, the Executive Director for the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling, told the Louisiana Gaming Control Board that statewide prevalence of “problem gambling” has risen from 3.1 percent to 8.3 percent in the past eight years, according to the latest version of the Louisiana Prevalent Study for Problem Gambling. It was noted that the problem was not necessarily the casinos, but the people, who might have a problem, but have nowhere to turn. She continued in saying, “People need the help but they don’t know where to go, so they don’t go anywhere.”
For more information about the ballot, check out the official ballot website.