Regulating Fantasy Sports has a good article about the call to regulate daily fantasy sports websites. From the article:

Additionally, states are likely leery of losing revenue from their government-backed gambling monopolies: state lotteries. In a recent Boston Globe editorial, one argument cited for regulation is that unregulated DFS “may drain revenue from the coffers of the Lottery.” Governments seem to disapprove of gambling—unless they are the pit bosses.

It’s crony capitalism all the way down. Along with the incentives for governments, there are three levels of private sector economic rent seekers in the gambling and daily fantasy marketplace, starting from largest to smallest in order of political influence and capital: 1. Physical casinos which would love nothing more than to see online DFS classified as gambling and prohibited; 2. DraftKings and FanDuel, which would likely welcome some regulation of the DFS industry to hamper competition; and 3. Smaller and not-yet-created DFS operators.

I live in Iowa, where at the moment playing fantasy sports for cash is illegal. Opponents in the state cite the so-called “dehumanizing” aspect of fantasy sports (huh?) and that money heads out-of-state without any local benefit.

Sorry, casinos and lotteries doing business in Iowa, but you have absolutely no moral claim on how I choose to spend my money. I’d much rather spend money on fantasy boxing (a sport I know a little about), where I have won free games in the past couple years, than ever spend it on a sucker bet like a lottery ticket or a less-sucker bet like a slot machine. It doesn’t matter if the money I spend has a local “benefit” or not. By that logic, we should ban out-of-state vacations or online shopping, since that money also heads out of the local economy.

Of course, by legalizing fantasy sports for money, the state WOULD get some benefit by taxing the winnings of fantasy players. Odd that lawmakers are choosing to NOT collect taxes for a change. I guess they’d rather drive fantasy players, and fantasy players’ winnings, underground. Their loss.


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