Fantasy sports out of bounds, NJ lawmaker says

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A New Jersey lawmaker wants Congress to huddle on the legal status of fantasy sports.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, who said professional leagues and teams have made fantasy sports into a huge gambling operation, has called for a congressional review.

“This is all a big contrived hypocrisy to make sure that they make money on fantasy sports because they own the leagues and at the same time prevent us from having sports betting in Atlantic City or at the track because they don’t make any money on it,” said Pallone, a Democrat.

New Jersey’s Legislature has authorized sports betting at those venues, but the NCAA, NHL, NFL, MLB and the NBA sued to halt the plan.  And a federal appeals court ruling last month blocked legalizing sports betting in the Garden State.

Haddonfield, New Jersey, resident John Hansen, who has a website with fantasy league information, said he’s not surprised that Pallone wants Congress to hold a hearing to examine the legal status of fantasy sports in which players make up rosters of real players and compete with others.

“They were considered games of skill and not gambling, but I do think now that the proliferation of daily fantasy has muddied the waters so to speak,” Hansen said. “So I think it’s increased the gray area in terms of fantasy sports and gambling.”

Pallone says the popularity of fantasy sports has led to million-dollar jackpots and frequent advertising of those sites.

He questions whether those leagues are distinguishable from sports betting and other forms of gambling.

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