Indiana joining feds, other states in questioning the legality of fantasy sports sites

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INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 21, 2015) – Indiana is joining other states in questioning the legality of fantasy sports sites like DraftKing and FanDuel.

The FBI and Justice Department are looking into whether the business models violate federal law. And last week Nevada became the first state to ban fantasy sites.

“You’re looking at this and you’re saying why is this not gaming?” State Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) said.

Kenley, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he wants legal advice from the Attorney General on whether fantasy sports constitute gambling in Indiana.

After that, he anticipates some type of action this upcoming session centered on regulation.

"Just like any other gaming activity,” he said. “And so the purpose is not to necessarily eliminate this but to try to make it be controllable and fair to our citizens -- we have a duty to them."

The companies have claimed the sites are legal and more a game of skill than luck.

But seemingly every day new groups are distancing themselves from the sites.

On Wednesday the NCAA informed DraftKings and FanDuel they can’t advertise during championship events.

“I think it’s gaming,” Mike Smith said, president and CEO of the Indiana Casino Association, who’s watching the developments closely. “Certainly in gaming, where you have large sums of money involved and the potential someone is going to cheat you out of your money, I think there is a role here for government to take a look at this.”

State Rep. Alan Morrison (R-Terre Haute) plans to introduce a bill that would allow fantasy sports at racinos. The measure was introduced last session but failed to gain any traction.

Smith said the association hasn’t taken an official position on the matter yet, but is looking to lawmakers for guidance.

"I think you’d see some of the casino companies who`d have interest in participating for these programs,” he said. “Because it does create buzz -- it creates excitement."

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