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Legislator Proposing Bill To Legalize, Regulate Daily Fantasy Sports Websites

Residents Can Access Websites Despite Legality

Computer screen with Draft Kings logo
Stephan Savoia/AP Photo

State Rep. Tyler Vorpagel, R-Plymouth, is taking up the issue of fantasy sports, again.

While players in Wisconsin can access websites like DraftKings, the legality of daily fantasy sports is up for interpretation. Vorpagel’s legislation aims to classify daily fantasy sports websites as legal and regulate the industry.

Traditional fantasy football leagues, like what an office or group of friends might do during the NFL season, are not considered the same thing as daily fantasy sports websites, where participants can create teams and place bets online.

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The question of legality hinges on whether daily fantasy sports are a game of skill or a game of chance. Vorpagel, who also plays daily fantasy sports, argued they require much more skill and sports knowledge than luck alone, unlike online poker.

“I see this as something that’s currently happening in practice and just want to make sure that people’s ability to keep doing something they enjoy doing is out there,” he said.

Executive Director of Citizens Against Expanded Gambling Lorri Pickens said she’s seriously concerned about the larger implications if this gets passed, citing how online daily fantasy sports is targeting younger people.

“When you look at brick and mortar gambling, the youth do not do that,” Pickens said. “They don’t go into a casino physically and play poker, but they’re very inclined to do things online. The industry does know this. This is their future.”

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel hasn’t gone as far as fully banning residents from accessing these cites, leaving residents open to log on. Vorpagel said that’s what interested him about this issue. It’s a new industry that needs regulation, which is one of the reasons why he’s taking the issue up a second time.

He put forward an almost identical bill in the last legislative session.

If this bill passes, daily fantasy sports website operators would have to register with the state Department of Financial Institutions, conduct audits, prohibit employees from participating in the games, and more.

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