Georgia considering stance on daily fantasy sports websites

AP News
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Posted: Nov 16, 2015 11:42 AM

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said his office is investigating whether daily fantasy sports violate state law after New York ordered two of the industry's largest companies to stop accepting bets, saying the operations constituted illegal gambling.

Olens recently told The Augusta Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1ONeVsX ) in an email that the issue is pending. Other states are also looking at the websites.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a cease-and-desist order last week to FanDuel and DraftKings, two companies that let users assemble teams of professional athletes and win money based on their statistical performances in real games.

The companies argue that their contests require more skill than luck, and therefore aren't gambling. They also cite an exemption for fantasy sports in a 2006 federal law.

The state argues the exemption doesn't supersede Georgia's gambling law, which defines a bet as "an agreement dependent upon chance" in which "one stands to win or lose something of value," even if some skill is involved, said Brent Holloway, a fantasy sports writer in northeast Georgia.

The exemptions to the law do not cover daily fantasy sports, Holloway said. One exemption includes the Georgia lottery, whose attorney issued a Sept. 23 letter to FanDuel and DraftKings telling companies that they appear to violate state law.

Georgia state Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, said the Legislature has convened committees to study the gambling law, but he was uncertain whether the review included daily fantasy sports.

"On the legality of it, I really have not thought about whether we should take up the issue," said Stone, a member of the Senate's criminal and civil judiciary committees. "I'll leave that to the folks who know more about it."

Holloway said if Georgia does ban daily fantasy sports, its effect will probably depend on what is happening elsewhere in the country.

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Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , http://www.augustachronicle.com