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Congress held a hearing on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act — a bill to ban online gaming and poker in the United States — last week, and one witness suggested daily fantasy sports should be included in the legislation.
The suggestion in front of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations came from John W. Kindt, an unabashed opponent of online gaming and a professor of business and legal policy at the University of Illinois. While the focus of the bill is generally on online casino games and poker, DFS did not escape the hearing without a mention.
iGaming journalist Dan Cypra noted Kindt’s suggestion that DFS should be lumped in with other types of gaming:
John Warren Kindt asks for fantasy sports loophole in UIGEA to be closed.
— Dan Cypra (@cypradn) March 25, 2015
Kindt even mentioned DFS near the start of his prepared statement for the subcomittee:
Internet gambling is an issue of strategic financial stability and Wall Street regulation. It is not an issue of electronic poker, daily fantasy sports gambling, and other gambling methodologies—which are actually proposals to leverage gateways for legalizing various gambling activities throughout international cyberspace.
You can read his full testimony here.
Kindt holds an anti-iGaming stance that is as extreme as there is in the U.S. For example, here is the poker advocacy group, the Poker Players Alliance, after hearing Kindt’s testinmony:
Kindt hates gambling, we get it.
— PokerPlayersAlliance (@ppapoker) March 25, 2015
So, it’s unclear how influential Kindt’s testimony could be. Why is it unlikely that RAWA would ever ban DFS?
Daily fantasy sports certainly aren’t immune to legal issues, however, especially at the state level.
Daily fantasy sports rely upon an exemption in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act — a federal law — for the industry’s legality. But iGaming law expert Daniel Wallach worries that DFS could run afoul of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Another legal expert in the iGaming legal space, Marc Edelman, outlined other challenges potentially facing DFS.
While RAWA may not pose a threat to DFS, that does not mean that the legality of DFS contests won’t come under fire from other avenues.