Fantasy Sports Lobby Taps Casino Executive For Legislative Push

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The Coalition for Fantasy Sports has appointed J.T. Foley, a longtime government relations executive with Las Vegas Sands, as its executive director, as it gears up for what could be the second round of legislative effort on DFS in a decade.

Foley’s appointment comes as the trade group prepares to persuade state lawmakers that its members’ DFS games, specifically the controversial pick”em product, should be distinguished from traditional gambling. According to a Tuesday press release, Foley will work with Coalition members Betr, Dabble, PrizePicks, and Underdog Fantasy, to craft legislation around those games.

“I’m thrilled to join the Coalition for Fantasy Sports,” Foley said in the press release. “We will work with member companies to create the laws we need to grow this industry. Our member companies are leading on consumer protections and eager to share what we know with emerging DFS providers so that we can establish and preserve a safe and legal ecosystem.”

Fantasy sports lobby pivots to legislators

Over the past year, regulators from more than a dozen states, including Florida and New York, have implemented rules and enforcements banning against-the-house DFS games.

Regulatory collaboration gave way to free-to-play or peer-to-peer versions of those pick ’em games in some states. But efforts to clear paid versions more in line with the originals have largely failed, prompting the coalition to shift its focus to legislative advocacy.

“It makes a lot more sense to work with regulators, as you can, to help them do their job and point to what’s been done in other states, but really, it’s going to be legislatures sooner or later that make this decision,” PrizePicks attorney Derek Schmidt said during a panel at the SBC Summit North America conference in May.

Foley adds deep lobbying experience

The press release also notes Foley will work to promote responsible play policies and enhance consumer protections for the fantasy sports industry.

In his 17 years with Sands, Foley oversaw the company’s political activities, lobbying, and government relations across multiple jurisdictions at the international, federal, state, and local levels.

As Vice President of Government Affairs, he helped get gaming legislation passed in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas, among other states. He also played a significant role in securing funding for Allegiant Stadium to facilitate the Raiders relocation to Las Vegas from Oakland.

Photo by Shutterstock/Casimiro PT