The Fantasy Sports Trade Association recently launched a new website pushing for legalization of real-money fantasy sports in five states where it is currently illegal.
Ideally, the FSTA would like to see every state in the United States operate with legalized fantasy sports.
While there is a carveout allowing fantasy sports in federal gaming law (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), fantasy sports is considering gambling in the five states listed at Fantasy Sports Freedom.
The FSTA’s main purpose is to promote the fantasy sports industry; as part of that mission, it has become the leader in advocacy for legislation that would make fantasy sports legal in states where it is considered gambling.
The new website is the latest example of the FSTA’s commitment to opening the doors in the five problem states.
Affront to liberty?
The FSTA puts the battle for fantasy sports to be legal everywhere in stark terms at its “About” page:
Five states are preventing their residents the freedom and liberty to collect their winnings in fantasy sports leagues. Those states are Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Louisiana, and the State of Washington.
This restriction is based on a misconception. Fantasy sports is a game of skill; it’s not gambling. It’s about analyzing statistics, building teams and competing against others.
Checking the status state by state
Clicking on a state at the website tells visitors the current climate for fantasy sports, what action is being taken to improve the future of real-money fantasy sports there, and what a resident should do to support fantasy sports.
- Iowa: FSF notes a failed fantasy sports bill in 2013, but new legislation introduced in January has a great deal of momentum.
- Washington: FSF talks about bills currently in front of the state legislature; a recent hearing in a Washington Senate committee could have a negative impact on the state’s approach to fantasy sports.
- Arizona: FSF talks about the state in generalities; a bill failed in 2014.
- Louisiana: FSF has no content. Much like Arizona, a past bill failed.
- Montana: FSF notes a bill was introduced last month. More on that bill here.
Each state’s page includes a call-to-action, allowing visitors to send a message to that state’s legislators.
The site is being used as a centralized way to mobilize support for fantasy sports legislation throughout the U.S.
While daily fantasy sports has seen exponential growth in the past year, it’s not clear whether citizens of the “illegal” states are clamoring for the ability to play DFS for real money.
That’s not to say, of course, that players wouldn’t end up flocking to sites like FanDuel and DraftKings should the opportunity for real-money DFS arise in the five affected states. Of course, legislators in all of the five states have seen the issue as important enough to introduce a bill dealing with fantasy sports.
But it is clear that there is currently momentum toward legalized real-money fantasy sports. The FSTA is just trying to build upon that forward progress with FSF.