Congress to hold hearing on DFS, sports betting and online gambling

house-subcommittee-gambling-hearing-pallone-daily-fantasy-sports-bettingDaily fantasy sports, sports betting and online gambling will all be topics of (presumably lively) discussion at a Congressional hearing next month.

On Thursday, ESPN’s David Purdum broke the news that the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing on Wednesday, May 11 to consider the legal status of DFS, online gambling and sports betting.

The hearing comes at the request of New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (pictured), the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who’d called for some form of federal grilling of DFS last September. Pallone’s home state currently boasts the country’s largest regulated online gambling market and has led the charge to lift the federal sports betting prohibition, although it’s been somewhat laggard in dealing with DFS.

In recent months, a growing number of state attorneys general have declared DFS to be illegal gambling according to state law, while other states are pushing to give DFS a legal shield through the introduction of so-called consumer protection measures. But legal eagles suspect DFS may represent illegal sports betting under the 1992 PASPA prohibition, and next month’s hearing will reportedly consider the federal role (if any) in overseeing DFS activity.

Iowa is the latest state to attempt to force DFS onto the straight and narrow path following a favorable vote this week on Senate Study Bill 3181 by a Senate subcommittee. Iowa attempted to pass similar legislation last year but the bill failed to clear all the necessary hurdles in time.

Unlike other states’ consumer protection bills, which typically bend over backward to define DFS as ‘not gambling’ and delegate oversight to anyone other than state gaming regulators, SB 3181 would require DFS operators to be licensed and regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, while DFS revenue would be subject to a 7.5% tax rate.