State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today said that fantasy sports should not constitute a gambling activity that needs to be regulated by the government. The lawmaker’s comments are in response to Senate Bill (SB) 356, legislation recently introduced by Sen. Bill Coley that would ban for-profit fantasy sports and betting on outcomes of an electronic sports contest.
“I am anxious to hear more about this debate, but on first look I don’t believe fantasy teams should be considered gambling activities equivalent to slot machines and the like,” Rep. Boccieri said. “To my knowledge, no one has ever squandered their life savings playing fantasy football. There is an obvious difference between pulling the slot lever too times and washing away your financial future, and competing in casual, less frequent online sports with their friends.”
Sen. Coley introduced SB 356 to eliminate for-profit fantasy leagues that do not dole out all the money they collect from participants, which he considers illegal under the Ohio Revised Code. The bill also places considerable authority in the hands of the Ohio Casino Control Commission to control not-for-profit fantasy sports.
“I have great respect for Sen. Coley and we agree on a lot of issues,” Rep. Boccieri clarified, “but on this matter I have a different view.”
The bill comes amid a national push by fantasy sports companies FanDuel and DraftKings to legalize the practice in several states. Fantasy sports have been growing in popularity, but much uncertainty remains over its regulation.