Nixon on sports leagues: "Daily fantasy is gambling"
JEFFERSON CITY - As a wildly popular online hobby, daily online fantasy sports is gaining the attention of lawmakers across the nation, including those in Missouri.
Daily fantasy, much like season-long fantasy leagues, allow users to select players for a single day's games and earn immediate payouts following the conclusion of the day's final game.
Most recently in Missouri during the 2016 State of the State address, Gov. Jay Nixon said online daily fantasy is considered gambling and should be regulated.
"Let's get real: this is gambling, kids are playing, and it's completely unregulated. And there are lobbyists in this building who want to keep it that way. If you're going to legalize it, we must regulate it and tax it just like we do casinos," Nixon said.
The two most popular sites, DraftKings and Fan Duel, are blocked in six states including Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Iowa, Arizona, and Washington. Additionally, Fan Duel does not accept deposits from residents of the state of New York.
Other states have joined in the legal battle over whether or not daily fantasy should be classified as gambling.
Nixon said taxing the daily fantasy sites would generate revenue that could be put towards education.
According to the Missouri Gaming Commission, casino taxes are the state of Missouri's fifth largest source of revenue.
Nixon's comments come after one legislator sponsored a bill that would legalize daily fantasy in Missouri.
Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R- Shell Knob, introduced a bill that would exempt daily fantasy sites from laws regulating gambling in Missouri.
"The bill that I filed is essentially a bill that creates, in statute, the activity of daily fantasy sports and establishes it as something that is allowable because, prior to now, it isn't something that has ever been contemplated in statute," Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said when there's a distinguishing factor that some people are clearly better than others then it classifies it more as a game of skill than a game of chance.
"Federal law specifically exempts fantasy sports from being classifed as gambling, but I think that when you look at fantasy sports it's a game of skill. A game of chance would be similar to the lottery or roulette or something like that," Fitzpatrick said.
He said the bill would come with ammendments if passed, but, for the time being, he wanted to get the bill filed while he works on some of the consumer protection aspects of it.