Anyone watching the NFL's opening games on TV could not miss the fantasy league ads that covered the contests like an all-pro cornerback and even branded some of the TV coverage itself. One of those watching was Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who has called for a congressional hearing to examine the "relationship of fantasy sports to gambling and professional leagues."
“These sites are enormously popular, arguably central to the fans’ experience, and professional leagues are seeing the enormous profits as a result," he said on his website, referring to a letter he sent. “Fans are currently allowed to risk money on the performance of an individual player. How is that different than wagering money on the outcome of a game?” said Pallone.
Pallone is the ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and sent the hearing request to Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), chairman of the Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee.
Pallone points out that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) prohibits sports betting nationally except in states that were grandfathered in because gambling was legal before the bill passed.
Online gambling is illegal, but there is a carve-out for fantasy sports as a game of skill. Pallone, who supports legalized gambling, calls that carve-out a loophole that has "blurred the lines between betting conducted through fantasy sports sites and online gambling."
"Involvement of players or league personnel who may be able to affect the outcome of a game also raises additional questions about the relationship between the entities, especially when professional leagues often actively promote fantasy sports sites, like Draft Kings or FanDuel," Pallone said.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.