Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee wants leading fantasy sports league sites DraftKings and FanDuel to provide him information on how they monitor participants so they can assure players and officials in those sports are in compliance with their league's policies.
He points out that all leagues but the NFL have barred athletes from participating in fantasy games within their sport, and that the NFL also does not allow personnel to accept prizes valued over $250. Fantasy league payouts can get much bigger.
Pallone sent letters to both sites asking for the information.
“The truth is that we do not know if these participants are being closely monitored because the industry is currently operating within a legal void,” Pallone, said, reiterating his call for a hearing in the committee. “This, once again, reiterates exactly why we need a Congressional hearing to review these daily fantasy sites."
Pallone last month requested a hearing into the legal status of daily fantasy sports, which are exempt from restrictions on Web gambling as games of skill rather than chance.
He reiterated his concerns about the legal status in the letters this week, saying that "[t]he deep involvement of professional sports with daily fantasy sports raises questions about whether these practices are truly distinguishable from prohibited sports betting and other forms of gambling."
Actually, Pallone already renewed his call for hearings earlier this month, following allegations of "insider trading" by employees of such sites. Pallone is not opposed to legal gambling, but it is the unregulated part that bothers him.
FanDuel and DraftKings branding has been all over NFL broadcast and cable coverage of the games.
"Recent reports raise additional questions about the safety, fairness, and integrity of these new platforms for fan engagement," said an aide to the committee. "We have a responsibility to protect consumers and ensure that those participating are not being taken advantage of. Our staff is looking into these issues and we will keep you informed as our work continues."
As to when a hearing might be held a committee source said on background that it would not be this year.
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.
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