Debate Commences On Daily Fantasy Sports Bill (update)

Washington state lawmakers discuss skill vs. chance and other issues

Washington state Senator Pam Roach was in the front ranks pushing for the legalisation of daily fantasy sports at a preliminary hearing of her legalisation bill before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Friday, appropriately decked out in Seattle Seahawks regalia to indicate her Super Bowl favourite for Sunday.

The committee was advised that the federal government and 45 other states consider fantasy sports as legal games of skill, leaving only Washington, Louisiana, Montana, Iowa and Arizona as states that consider the popular pastime to be illegal.

Members of the committee were told that legalisation bills were currently underway in two of those states – Montana and Iowa.

Sen. Roach again stressed that her bill did not seek to expand gambling, but recognise that daily fantasy sports success required knowledge and skill, rather than good luck.

Committee chairman Michael Baumgartner and his fellow committee members heard views from a variety of witnesses, including the state Gambling Control Board and a lobbyist for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Closing the hearing, chairman Baumgartner predicted that the issue will require more work before his committee can progress the Roach bill.

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