Here’s something that may be worth keeping an eye on: in a world that’s grown increasingly hostile to the fantasy sports business model, a bill introduced in the Georgia legislature is proposing to swim against the tide.
State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, has proposed legislation following efforts in other states to place rules on companies operating daily fantasy sports websites. The bill, however, stops short of calling it gambling…
Unterman called the legislation a “consumer protection” effort, saying an estimated 1.5 million people play daily fantasy sports in Georgia.
Notably, she wrote the bill to differentiate daily fantasy sports from gambling — something Georgia bans other than in lottery games and slot-like machines known as coin-operated amusement machines.
“This is a game of skill, that you are actually following and researching the players and teams, versus just going in and plopping down $3 for a lottery ticket and the computer generates the numbers,” Unterman said…
Okay, you can stop chuckling now. The idea that fantasy sports is more a game of skill than, say, poker is… well, laughable.
But what I really wonder about here is pretty simple. With the NCAA and the conferences on the warpath about fantasy sports and their track record for making public gestures, could we be looking at a situation where there are repercussions in states that welcome fantasy sports? Eh, probably not.
I mean, let’s face it. Georgia is looking at regulation because there’s a little money in it for the state (“And it would mandate that companies register in Georgia if they have players here, setting an initial $50,000 fee — and $10,000 annually”). In time, the schools could see fantasy sports turning respectable, like an aged whore, and view them as just another revenue source, too. Maybe one day Draft Kings will wind up endowing a couple of positions at UGA.
Still, at least for now, we’re in the Bible Belt. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the bill and, if it passes and is signed into law, what kind of response it’ll generate.