California Forum

Legislature should act on behalf of daily fantasy sports

Millions of Californians enjoy playing fantasy sports for fun and prizes. They have a right to continue to do so until the Legislature takes that right away. It hasn’t. In fact, daily fantasy sports contests have been played for years without any suggestion they were illegal.

Some people want to change the law to prohibit such contests. That is their right. Others seek to pressure the attorney general to sue to stop those contests without waiting for the Legislature to act. That is wrong. Only the Legislature, not the courts, should change the law (“Injecting reality into fantasy sports betting”; Forum, Dan Morain, Dec. 13).

Lawmakers in Sacramento are already considering legislation to confirm fantasy sports’ legality but add new consumer protections. The same is true elsewhere. For example, an Illinois bill would protect consumers’ right to play while adding new regulations to bar employees of fantasy sports companies from competing in other operators’ contests; prevent the sharing of non-public information that could affect the outcome of the game; require operators to verify players’ ages; and help prevent participants from overplaying.

These measures represent sensible oversight of an innovative industry providing a product that tens of millions of people have enthusiastically embraced for its entertainment value.

As a technology policy leader, California should be especially reluctant to quash a vibrant new technology that entertains tens of millions of Americans and creates jobs. Fantasy contests also drive interest in real-life sports, creating further economic benefits.

If this technology is to be upended, and consumers kept from playing the game they love, it should be by the Legislature, not the courts.

David Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, is counsel for DraftKings.