The expansion of gambling in the state of Georgia through Internet Sports Gambling continues under the Gold Dome! The Fantasy Contests Act, sponsored by State Representative Trey Kelley (R – Cedartown), which passed the House last year, is once again being promoted in the Senate by Sen. Renee Unterman (R – Buford). HB 118 seeks to legalize, tax and then regulate paid-entry fantasy sports gambling! This bill, for the second time in 2 years, has passed out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, Chaired by Sen. Frank Ginn. The bill is now in the Rules Committee waiting on approval for it to be voted on by the full Senate.
The problem with this legislation is that it attempts to legalize a form of gambling that many believe violates existing Georgia law. Regardless of what the supporters of this legislation say, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is not a game of skill.
Two years ago, according to the State Attorney General’s Office, Deputy Attorney General W. Wright Banks, Jr. and Brooke E. Heinz said in a letter to the Georgia Lottery Commission that “fantasy sports constitutes illegal gambling and are not allowed under Georgia law.” However, legislators are ignoring this opinion and are saying there is no problem because they are already being allowed to operate.
Think about it: what industry wants to be legalized if it is already a legal business? Second, if they are legal why do they want to ask government to tax them and have more government regulations placed on them? When the gambling industry wants to recommend taxes and regulations on themselves, be careful. It’s like the fox asking to be in charge of the hen house! If I’m a hen, I’m nervous! I think the people in this state have a reason to be nervous!
Let’s get to the bottom line: If Daily Fantasy Sports is: A) Not Gambling B) Is Already Legal in Georgia, why are they lobbying (begging) the Georgia Legislature so hard to say it is NOT Gambling and to make it LEGAL? Short answer: It IS gambling and it is NOT legal and they know it.
What we need the state to do is to declare it “not legal” and stop it. Georgia has only one legal Gambling enterprise in the state: The Lottery. I believe that DFS believes that it must quickly get itself legalized as a “contest” before they could be outlawed. That is the simple truth. They want to be declared a “contest” so the Georgia Attorney General could not potentially outlaw them.
Another reason that could be motivating DFS to seek legal status is that they are hoping for a favorable ruling from the US Supreme Court this fall, making Sports Gambling legal in all 50 states. Georgia would already a have a “leg up” on exponentially expanding gambling through the internet because if HB 118 passes, it will already be here! If this takes place, then DSF can declare that it was gambling all along! But, then it will be too late! As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! That’s what the “gambling troops” will say when they come running out of the “horse”!
Already, one of the major reasons DFS and certain legislators are saying we need to pass HB 118 is that they “are already doing it.” (This is always a big excuse under the Gold Dome) Therefore, all the legislature will do is pass legislation to legitimize it because “they are already doing it.” (Trust me friends, this will be the big argument for legalizing prostitution one day, too.)
And, I have almost forgotten to throw in the more terrible consequences of increased legitimate gambling: the harm to the Children. Children and teenagers stand to lose the most on internet (iPhone) Gambling, which, by the way, is virtually impossible to regulate once legalized in a state.
According to data from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, almost 10 million of the estimated 51.6 million fantasy sports players are under the age of 18. Gambling operators and online companies are using “free” fantasy sports games to cleverly market to teenagers now, and convert them to online fantasy gamblers once they hit the age of 18. For youth growing up playing video games, internet gambling is especially addictive! In fact, fantasy sports expert Arnie Wexler states that daily fantasy sports is online gambling, and for some, it can be as addictive as crack cocaine.
Les Bernal, with Stop Predatory Sports, says that “The bill legalizes “eSports,” allowing gambling operators to turn every kid’s video game console, like the PlayStation, Xbox and Wii in the State of Georgia into a Las Vegas casino.” You see, online gambling companies like DraftKings and Gamersaloon offer what is described as “eSports” where they encourage young people to wager and lose money on video games.
Friends, this “Trojan Horse” needs to be stopped. Our legislators need to stand for our values by standing against the exploitation of our citizens and particularly the most vulnerable of all: our children! Start with contacting the Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle and your state Senator today and ask them stop HB118 from going to the Senate floor for a vote.