Fantasy sports leagues have exploded in popularity over the last few years, driven in part by companies like DraftKings and FanDuel enticing customers with cash payouts. Elected officials have taken notice as the activity has migrated from sedate rotisserie leagues to multi-million dollar enterprises.
The legal debate revolves around the question of whether the leagues offer games of skill or games of chance. In New York, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman maintains the sites amount to illegal gambling and told the companies to stop taking bets. Here in California, while Attorney General Kamala Harris mulls what she might do (a spokesman said the office “cannot comment on any potential or ongoing investigations”), Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, has introduced a bill to create a regulatory system for fantasy sports.
Today the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, where Gray has made his mark as the chair and explored authorizing Internet poker, will hold a hearing on regulating the fantasy sports industry. Daily fantasy companies will be heavily represented, with the DraftKings team bringing out former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, and a few fantasy sports players are expected to speak. The only scheduled witness who works for California is a deputy legislative counsel, the Legislature’s legal adviser.
Things get underway at 1 p.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol. Watch the webcast on the California Channel.
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