The state House has passed a bill that would regulate, but not tax, daily fantasy sports.
It would require daily fantasy sports sites to pay an annual $5,000 fee, limit playing to those age 18 and older, and would bar play by sites’ employees with insider knowledge.
It would not tax the games and would exempt them from gambling laws, which Representative Rory Rowland (D-Independence) said is a mistake.
“I am not in favor of calling fantasy sports anything other than sports betting. It is being intellectually dishonest to call it anything other than that,” said Rowland.
Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) said playing daily fantasy sports is not gambling.
“This is a game of skill not dissimilar to someone who hones their craft as a college athlete to be paid for what they do,” said Rowden.
Bill sponsor, Representative Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob), questioned Democrats’ arguments to support their position that daily fantasy sports play is gambling.
“It’s hard to say out of one side of your mouth that something is gambling and then say out of the other side of your mouth that it’s unfair because the same people win most of the time,” said Fitzpatrick, “and to me that looks a lot like there’s skill involved.”
Governor Jay Nixon (D) in his State of the State Address called on the legislature to address daily fantasy sports. The House’s bill would seem to attempt to address some of his concerns – that “kids are playing,” and that, “it’s completely unregulated,” but he also called for them to be taxed. He suggested the resulting revenue could be used for education.
The bill, HB 1941, goes to the Senate, where a bill that would tax and further regulate daily fantasy sports has had a committee hearing.