Ohio is now pushing for the regulation of fantasy sports in the Buckeye State, the newest state to join the consideration of the multi-million industry.
ABC6 reported that Ohio Senator Bill Coley introduced a bill on Monday that will categorize daily fantasy sports (DFS) a “scheme of chance.”
The bill will put fantasy sports sites under the authority of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, tasking the state regulator to make rules and enforce them throughout the state.
But unlike other proposed DFS laws in the U.S., Coley’s SB 356 is stricter since the legislation would make illegal any contest that does not return 100 percent of entry fees to players in a contest.
“Some of those sites also take a 10, or 15, or 20 percent rake off the top. Totally illegal under existing Ohio law and will not be tolerated,” Ohio state Senator Bill Coley said.
But State Rep. John Boccieri immediately questioned the Ohio fantasy sports legislation, saying that fantasy sports should not constitute a gambling activity that needs to be regulated by the government.
“I don’t believe fantasy teams should be considered gambling activities equivalent to slot machines and the like,” Rep. Boccieri said, according to WFMJ.com. “To my knowledge, no one has ever squandered their life savings playing fantasy football.”
Boccieri says there is a difference between pulling the slot lever too times and washing away your financial future, and competing in casual, less frequent online sports with their friends.
He also opposes the provision of SB 356 that he says would place “considerable authority” in the hands of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, which would enforce the rules.
Regulating DFS in Ohio has been an ongoing debate in the state for quite some time now but the government had been silent on the issue for much of 2016. Before 2015 ended, the Permanent Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering promised to look more closely at that matter.
The DFS regulation gained steam after Attorney General De Wine issued a memorandum on the legality of fantasy sports. While he shied away from making a blanket statement, DeWine pointed out that “that there are legitimate concerns over how DFS websites operate.”
Due to the lack of clarity on whether DFS violate R.C. Chapter 2915 and the variety of laws it implicates, DeWine opined that it is best that the General Assembly may want to address this issue.