A group of Wisconsin residents has voiced opposition to the recently renewed push for the legalization of daily fantasy sports (DFS). The Citizens Against Expanded Gambling group fears that expanded gambling in the state could inflict serious harm to the most vulnerable members of its population as DFS operators are known for mainly targeting younger customers.
Concerns are being raised as State Representative Tyler Vorpagel has issued a co-sponsorship memo, seeking fellow lawmakers to support his efforts for the legalization and regulation of the DFS industry in the state. This has been the second time that Rep. Vorpagel has introduced a DFS game push in the Wisconsin Legislature.
The legislator will try to convince his fellow lawmakers that the outcome of DFS games is mostly based on skill rather than on mere chance. The Wisconsin Constitution currently prohibits any form of gambling expansion within the state’s borders. In other words, only if daily fantasy sports are classified as games of skill, they will get to be legalized in Wisconsin.
At present, DFS services are neither legal, nor illegal in the state and operators have been targeting local customers for years now without really being obstructed from doing so. Rep. Vorpagel calls for the creation of a regulated environment that will make it easier for operators and competent regulators to control who plays on DFS websites and to penalize violators.
Why Wisconsin DFS Legal Push Has Been Drawing Opposition?
Citizens Against Expanded Gambling and Wisconsin Family Action are two of the groups that have been particularly vocal against the legalization of daily fantasy sports. Group representatives have pointed out that DFS games, unlike season-long fantasy sports leagues, are dependent on factors like “an injury, a snowstorm, or a ball bouncing strangely” or on chance, in other words.
Thus, according to opponents, DFS legalization would mean gambling expansion and violation of the state Constitution, despite efforts for the activity to be classified as one whose outcome depends on skill. In other words, placing a DFS wager is very similar to placing a traditional bet with a traditional bookmaker, an activity which US federal laws prohibit.
The two opposing groups, which are represented by more than 22,000 residents of Wisconsin, have also warned about the potential harm DFS legalization could have on younger members of the state’s population. DFS operations are generally targeting and more appealing to younger demographics of players.
According to Citizens Against Expanded Gambling, it would be difficult for operators and regulators to prevent underaged people from wagering on DFS websites as it is easy to hide one’s identity and true age online. Opponents of the push argue that DFS legalization could open “Pandora’s online gambling box”.
Rep. Vorpagel’s Renewed Regulation Attempt
Daily fantasy sports is an industry that has been around for a decade now and Rep. Vorpagel believes that the state should capitalize on its popularity not just within the state but at a national level. The lawmaker’s legalization push began back in early 2016, but it did not gain much support back then. He now hopes that the renewed effort will succeed in the Legislature, particularly given the fact that it is struggling with finding revenue sources and a regulated DFS market could be one such source.
As previously pointed out by Rep. Vorpagel, more than 900,000 Wisconsin residents have been playing DFS and it would be better for them to continue doing this in a regulated environment.
Under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was implemented back in 2006, season-long fantasy sports are not illegal. However, the Act lacks in clarity whether daily fantasy sports are considered a legal activity and it is up to individual states to decide on that.