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North Carolina Lawmakers Say “No” to Daily Fantasy Sports

A bill creating a new commission in North Carolina that would give authority to oversee the lottery, bingo, raffles, and boxing in the state, left out language to include daily fantasy sports.

The decision by the House Committee effectively kills the chance that daily fantasy sports become legal in North Carolina during this legislative session.

The proposed measure sailed through the first committee it faced but stumbled when it reached the tough House Judiciary Committee.

Finding the sweet spot in regulating daily fantasy sports has been a sore subject for most legislators reaching back as far as 2017 when a first attempt at passing a bill failed.

The 2017 proposed bill focused on regulating daily fantasy sports alone but failed when legislators began attaching other amendments to the bill including the creation of a gaming commission.

For several weeks, it looked like the 2019 version of the bill was headed to passing but once again bickering and additional amendments ultimately derailed the proposal.

Supporters of the legislation believed that the bill would set age restrictions and other consumer protection rules for daily fantasy sports.

But other lawmakers believed more time is needed to study the effects of daily fantasy sports on North Carolina residents.

The bill’s sponsor for regulation, GOP Rep. Harry Warren warned fellow lawmakers that another study would simply kick the can down the road and not protect residents.

“(No regulations would) allow fantasy sports to continue to operate in this state without any restrictions, without any regulations, without any oversight,” said Warren.

Another sponsor of the bill, GOP Rep. Jason Saine, told the media he wasn’t surprised by the result and feels that the measure will get a second chance during the two-year legislative session.

“We are a deliberative body,” Saine said after the measure failed. “And people get a chance to vote on bills whether they support them or not.”

What Stopped Other Lawmakers From Passing the Regulations?

Some North Carolina lawmakers believed that the language in the bill did not explicitly lay out how it would regulate daily fantasy sports.

With the commission already overseeing boxing, raffles, state lottery, and bingo, legislators like Rep. John Torbett told the media he needed to see more information before approving the measure.

Other lawmakers defeated the bill because they still feel that daily fantasy sports is not a game of skill but continues to fall under the umbrella of gambling.

One proposed amendment offered that sites like DraftKings and FanDuel don’t meet the guidelines in North Carolina for gambling but that proposal was shot down during the hearing.

When asked about the amendment that would take daily fantasy sports away from the gambling distinction, Rep Allen McNeil called the move, “a step too far.”

After the amendment to remove daily fantasy sports from the gambling distinction failed, Rep. Pricey Harrison tried to create a yearlong study of DFS by the new Gaming Commission.

That proposal failed when the bill’s sponsors declared that the betting is already being played, it just needed regulation.

“We’re trying to get our arms wrapped around this as quickly as possible,” said Rep. Harry Warren.

During the hearing, time was set aside for the public to speak. One of the bill’s biggest citizen opponents spoke, John Rustin of the North Carolina Family Policy Council.

Rustin argued in front of the committee that daily fantasy regulation would “represent a massive expansion of online gambling in this state.”

When the bill could be resurrected for another look by a House Committee is anyone’s guess at this point as daily fantasy players wait for approval in North Carolina.

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