Legislative Bill declares Fantasy Sports as non-gambling activity in Nebraska

Fantast Sports often find themselves in the grey area between gambling and skill based gaming.

Nebraska State Senator, Tyson Larson has introduced a bill, LB862 that clearly classifies fantasy sports as ‘not gambling’. Legislative Bill LB862 that provides a permit for conducting or participating in a fantasy contest was amended and placed on General File on Friday. This issue is also a part of Legislative Bill LB970, which looks to changing provisions relating to pickle cards and keno and authorised methods of payment for gambling; LB970 is a priority Bill for the General Affairs Committee.

Agree to disagree

While the senator believes those who participate in daily fantasy sports tournaments are participating in an activity of expertise, not everyone agrees; David Geiers, the Director of the Nebraska Gamblers Assistance Program, stated that the performance in this type of gaming can be affected by the capital available to individuals, which could allow them to participate in hundreds of matches simultaneously.

The outcome is also heavily influenced by the application of superior computer software and not the players’ skill levels alone. This is the cause behind the original ambiguity surrounding fantasy sports: it is hard to decipher whether the winners are determined by chance or talent. Geiers also added that given that these games are driven by fast evolving computers and software, it is difficult for the Nebraska Gamblers Assistance Program to fully comprehend and stay ahead of them.

Protecting the players

The confusion surrounding fantasy sports is a national issue and attorney generals have started to issue individual opinions on its constitution based on their state statutes. Larson said, he wanted to make sure that the Nebraskan state statue looked at current practices and made sure 300,000 residents, who regularly practice fantasy sports were not penalised.

The daily business

Operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel that collect a small management fee out of every entry fee will be required to register and pay registration a fee of $50,000 to the state and a further annual renewal fee of $10,000 provided this sum does not exceed 10% of the amount collected in entry fees minus the amount paid out in cash prizes or equivalents. The bill however does not extend home leagues as they don’t collect a management fee. LB862 will allow the state of Nebraska to oversee and regulate activities of such fantast sports organisations and ensure consumer protection.

Geier who is not fully convinced by the bill understands the huge popularity of fantasy sports and is pleased that the regulations will offer some consumer protection and verify claims made by these gaming giants.

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