Lawmaker Pledges Bill to Protect Texas Fantasy Sports Betting

by Nicole Cobler | Sept. 8, 2016

A state lawmaker says he’ll file legislation to make sure Texans can play fantasy sports online without repercussions — following an opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton that equates placing bets on gaming websites to illegal gambling.

Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, has drafted a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would classify fantasy sports as games of skill, not of chance. The move follows a nonbinding opinion Paxton’s office released in January that suggests paid fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel — which offer Texans the potential to win money off of their virtual teams — violate the state’s prohibition on betting on games of chance.

“It is beyond reasonable dispute that daily fantasy leagues involve an element of chance regarding how a selected player will perform on game day,” the opinion states. Free fantasy sport sites — like those hosted by Yahoo, ESPN and the NFL — are not in dispute.

But Raymond argues people who play fantasy sports must have a deep understanding of the game and the players, which he argues is skill, not chance.

 “It really isn’t the roulette wheel,” he said at a news conference Thursday announcing his plans for legislation.

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