Georgia Baptist policy spokesmen testifies opposing Daily Fantasy Sports bill

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Georgia Baptist public policy spokesman Mike Griffin, seated at near right, testifies March 16 on HB 118, which seeks to legalize daily fantasy sports to Georgia. TOM RUSH/Special

Yesterday, March 16, Georgia Baptist Mission Board Public Affairs Representative Mike Griffin testified before the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee in opposition to House Bill 118. The bill, referred to as the “Registered Fantasy Contest Operators Act,” is also recognized as the legislation for the registration, regulation, and taxation of daily fantasy sports to Georgia. Following is Griffin’s testimony to the panel. 

The Georgia Baptist Convention has frequently stated its firm opposition to the gambling industry and the further legalization of gambling in our state; therefore, I would like to take a moment today to expose one of the prominent propaganda pitches that the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Industry makes about itself. One of the biggest falsehoods about DFS is that it is a game of skill! There are at least (4) reasons why DFS is NOT a game of skill.

#1. DFS is NOT a game of skill because it fits the classic definition of “Gambling”!

DFS meets all of the requirements of the fundamental definition of gambling. It has consideration (the player wagers money), prize (the player wins cash prizes), and chance (there must be at least enough variance that an inexperienced bettor can win the prize) This is the same definition used in Georgia Law to determine what constitutes gambling. This also clearly constitutes a “bet” within the meaning of O.C.G.A. 16-12-20(1) The NCAA also recognizes DFS in its definition of gambling, because they recently suspended five baseball players for playing fantasy football. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Feb 24, 2017)

#2. DFS is NOT a game of skill just because it may require “some skill”!

Skill and chance are not mutually exclusive, and just as betting on a horse race can involve skill, the outcome remains uncertain and a bet that one horse will win is still a gamble. No one seriously argues horse racing is not gambling, despite the fact that an element of skill may be present. In DFS you are not picking horses, you are picking players with an uncertain outcome.

#3. DFS is NOT a game of skill because it is NOT the “player” who determines the outcome!

It is intellectual dishonesty to suggest that a golf tournament or a bass fishing tournament is the same thing as DFS! In a golf tournament it is your skill from hole #1 to hole #18! In a Bass fishing tournament, it is your skill from 6 AM till 6 PM. In addition, how many of you have ever heard of “Bass Fishing Anonymous”? However, Gambling Anonymous HAS added DFS to it’s of list of activities it defines as gambling (“The next frontier of Daily fantasy sports is here,” New York Daily News, June 6, 2016). And, parenthetically, HB 118 includes a requirement of information on compulsive behavior be made available to players of DFS. This points to the nature of gambling.

#4. DFS is NOT a game of skill because it depends on players who have to “believe” they are gambling!

Even if you were to argue that a more experienced DFS player does not see himself as gambling, then it would also be true that a lesser experienced player must be gambling. The very existence of experienced DFS players – playing with an edge and for a profit – depends on the presence of lesser experienced players willing to gamble at a disadvantage against the experienced players. You can’t have a more successful DFS player without a compensating gambler – nationally known as a “sucker”!

That is even more true here today! …Don’t allow this kind of deception to take place. This committee is smarter than that!

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