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Georgia lottery officials question legality of fantasy sports companies

Oct 20, 2015, 8:42 am

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Georgia LotteryGeorgia Lottery: Georgia lottery officials question legality of fantasy sports companiesRating:

ATLANTA — Georgia Lottery officials are questioning whether the daily fantasy sports industry can legally operate in the state, according to a letter sent last month to CEOs of DraftKings and FanDuel.

Georgia Lottery General Counsel Joseph Kim said in the Sept. 23 letter that the companies appear to violate the Georgia Constitution, which generally bans gambling except for state lottery-run games.

Kim said Monday that neither company responded by the Friday deadline given in his letter. He said lottery officials are considering their next step.

Representatives for FanDuel and DraftKings didn't immediately respond to emails requesting comment. DraftKings says on its website that fantasy sports qualify as a game of skill, which exempts them from an online gambling prohibition by a 2006 federal law.

Kim said in his letter that the federal law doesn't protect the companies in Georgia, where the definition of a "bet" includes winning or losing something of value — even if a game requires some skill. Only coin-operated machines are exempt from that definition, he said.

"Based on these definitions a person or party that places or facilitates a 'bet' or maintains a 'gambling place' commits the crimes of gambling, commercial gambling, advertising commercial gambling and communication gambling information," he wrote.

In reacting to the Georgia Lottery letter, Brent Holloway, a Hall County resident and a full-time fantasy sports writer, said he "would really need to look at Georgia law as far as what is a game of skill and what is a game of chance, and what other laws might play a role."

The issue could come up in the next Georgia legislative session, said state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville.

"There is some inquiry regarding the permitting and how (such companies) operate," he said.

State Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, said, "I don't think, jurisdiction-wise, we have any authority over the Internet as far as gambling ... but (lottery officials) might have gotten an opinion from the (state) attorney general."

The attorney general's office couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

Rogers said he can see the Georgia Lottery's stance in the matter.

"They're trying to protect their nest egg and rightfully so," he said.

Several states are examining the fantasy sports companies after it was revealed that employees often played on competing sites, prompting customer fears that they could gain an advantage from insider information.

Nevada regulators have ordered the sites out of that state unless they get a gambling license, and officials in other states are watching discussions there closely.

Players on the sites pay an entry fee to compete for cash prizes in games involving college or professional sports. Participants select players whose real-life performance generates points.

Gainesville Times

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6 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by DELotteryPlyr.
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music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
Fresno, California
United States
Member #157851
August 2, 2014
3922 Posts
Posted: October 20, 2015, 10:27 am - IP Logged

 State by State laws prevail.  Will the Feds get involved? 

 There have been hints of cheating by FanDuel and DraftKings employees.

 "We are all in this together!" 


    United States
    Member #13589
    April 9, 2005
    28 Posts
    Posted: October 20, 2015, 2:03 pm - IP Logged

    Georgia lottery doesn't seem to care about their customers according to their customer's facebook posts.  Georgia lottery has a lot of issues according to posts on facebook: from customer's not getting a response, winning tickets scanning as not winners, their new location verification software telling some Georgia residents they can't verify their Georgia location, etc....   It would seem like Georgia lottery would try to take care of some if not all of their customers' concerns/issues while tackling this supposed "threat" to lottery which may or may not include the same customers!

      kings mountain
      United States
      Member #118663
      November 5, 2011
      208 Posts
      Posted: October 20, 2015, 9:08 pm - IP Logged

      Of course the lottery officials are questioning them!! It is taking away from their greedy hands. I absolutely love fantasy sports and the odds of winning money is wayyyyyyyyyyyy better.  I have won more playing fantasy than lottery, so much easier.

        RedStang's avatar - laughing chimp.gif
        United States
        Member #121957
        January 21, 2012
        3169 Posts
        Posted: October 21, 2015, 2:31 pm - IP Logged

        We had a U.S District Judge decide Poker was a game a skill and could go on in NY. They will use this in their case and Georgia won't be able to stop it.


          United States
          Member #159612
          October 2, 2014
          252 Posts
          Posted: October 21, 2015, 4:32 pm - IP Logged

          Fantasy sports is way easier to win and crazy better odds the Lotto just wants there money there the scam. I would love to look into the Lottery. Daily Fantasy is harmless its sad how we have so many things wrong in this country and when it comes to the States Casinos and Lottery things get done right away. Wow what a surprise God help us if the Lottery going to have to gave out more money to stay competitive.

            United States
            Member #162429
            January 2, 2015
            2211 Posts
            Posted: October 21, 2015, 6:41 pm - IP Logged

            We had a U.S District Judge decide Poker was a game a skill and could go on in NY. They will use this in their case and Georgia won't be able to stop it.

            Interesting point.  This will be interesting to see what happens as state after state goes after fantasy sports.