Regulation of fantasy sports could become reality in N.J.

Fantasy sports companies lobbyist A.J. Sabbath details his opposition to  legislation that would regulate the industry.  (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Fantasy sports companies lobbyist A.J. Sabbath details his opposition to legislation that would regulate the industry. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey could become the second state to regulate fantasy sports.

Legislation under consideration sets standards for the industry that allows players to deposit money, then compete for cash prizes based on the performance of professional athletes.

Testifying Monday before a Senate committee, lobbyist A.J. Sabbath said the companies oppose the legislation because it doesn’t define fantasy sports as a game of skill.

“Minus this presumption of legality, our industry lacks the necessary certainty to continue to operate in New Jersey without the continued threat of falling within New Jersey’s gaming laws and regulations,” he said.

Sen. Jim Whelan said whether it’s a game of skill or gambling is immaterial in the legislation.

“We’re sort of agnostic on it in the bill,” he said. “Let it continue, and I think we can do that without making that determination so that people can enjoy this.”He said the measure would provide protections to residents who play.

“We’re not interested in shutting this down. But we are interested in making sure that there’s oversight through the attorney general’s office, whatever division he would send it to, and then there are some safeguards in there,” said Whelan, D-Atlantic. “If there are inappropriate actions, there would be fines. We don’t have the capacity to do that right now.”

Employees of the fantasy sports companies and sports organizations would be barred from participating in the games.

“If you work for the Jets, you’re not going to able to play in the NFL daily fantasy sports because you know your left tackle is hurt this week or whatever inside information you may have,” he said.

 

New Jersey could become the second state to regulate fantasy sports.

 

The legislation sets standards for the industry that allows players to deposit money, then compete for cash prizes based on the performance of real-life athletes.

 

Lobbyist A.J. Sabbath says the companies oppose the legislation because it doesn’t define fantasy sports as a game of skill.

 

“Minus this presumption of legality our industry lacks the necessary certainty to continue to operate in New Jersey without the continued threat of falling within New Jersey’s gaming laws and regulations.”

 

Senator Jim Whelan believes the measure would allow residents to continue to play those games while giving them some protections.

 

“We’re not interested in shutting this down. People do it. The enjoy it. But we are interested in making sure that there’s oversight through the Attorney General’s office, whatever division he would sent it do, and then there are some safeguards in there.  If there are inappropriate actions, there would be fines. We don’t have the capacity to do that right now.”

 

Whelan says the legislation would prohibit employees of the fantasy sports companies and sports organizations from participating in the games.

 

 “If you work for the Jets, you’re not going to able to play in the NFL daily fantasy sports because you know your left tackle is hurt this week or whatever inside information you may have.”

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