AUSTIN—A South Texas lawmaker plans to introduce legislation to legalize paid daily fantasy sports websites, in defiance of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion stating the paid sites violate Texas’ prohibition on games of chance.
Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, announced he has drafted a bill that could classify fantasy sports as games of skill, rather than games of chance.
“This comes as no surprise,” said Rodger Weems, chairman of Stop Predatory Gambling-Texas. “We don’t take the threat lightly, but we remain confident the legalization of daily fantasy sports in Texas will not occur.”
Paxton issued an opinion Jan. 19 stating the paid sites like DraftKings and FanDuel—in contrast to nonpaid sports fantasy leagues—violate Texas gambling prohibitions.
Daily fantasy sports sites allow players to buy into a game in which they create a fantasy team using real professional athletes. The athletes’ statistics in various categories are tracked, and fantasy league players win or lose money based on how their teams perform, with the sponsoring site taking a percentage.
Daily online fantasy sports sites differ significantly from traditional season-long fantasy leagues, Weems emphasized. Participants often join the season-long leagues primarily as social activities, but the daily online sites operate on an altogether different business model, he stressed.
“Instant gratification is always the goal of the gambling business, and it is always the curse of the addicted gambler,” he said.