National lobbying efforts target Indiana as lawmakers consider regulating fantasy sports sites

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INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 29, 2015) – As early as this week, State Rep. Alan Morrison (R-Terre Haute) will file proposed legislation that would regulate daily fantasy sports sites in Indiana.

The big players, like DraftKing and FanDuel, have exploded in popularity this NFL season. And the controversy has followed right behind.

A number of states have banned the sites as a federal investigation looms.

Now national lobbying efforts have focused their attention on Indiana.

“Ten, 15 years ago, the leagues didn’t like us,” Peter Schoenke said, owner of rotowire.com, a popular site providing data to fantasy hubs like ESPN, Yahoo and NFL.com. “They thought we were kind of geeky.”

Schoenke, who is also chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, is now spending more time in state capitols, like Indianapolis.

“We’re looking to pass legislation in states across the country that clarify that fantasy sports are legal,” he said.

Supporters have also launched this site targeting numerous states nationwide. 

Daily fantasy sports have prompted Indiana lawmakers to once again look at regulating the sites.

“You’re looking at that and saying why is this not gambling,” State Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) said in a recent interview.

As part of Morrison’s bill that will be filed in the coming days, Hoosiers would have to be at least 18 years old to play, the state would have oversight through a state agency and the sites would be required to undergo yearly audits.

The state’s casinos would also be able to host and run fantasy sports, which would also mean new revenue for Indiana.

“You would not notice a difference at all if we were to pass my legislation,” Morrison said. “Everything that would be happening would be behind the scenes with the consumer protection.”

Across Indiana and the nation, some are calling for complete bans on daily fantasy sports sites, amidst an FBI and Department of Justice investigation. That’s why national lobbying groups are invading state capitols.

Schoenke estimates more than a million Hoosiers play fantasy sports, meaning big business for a booming industry.

“Yeah I mean there’s definitely some legitimate consumer protection concerns,” he said. “And I think we’re cognizant to those and open.”

Schoenke added the industry would be willing to agree to an 18+ rule along with requiring segregated funds for each company.

A similar proposal didn’t gain traction last session, but Morrison said he’s confident given the influx of controversy, the issue will be addressed in 2016.

Lawmakers begin the new session on January 5th.

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