By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – Lawmakers in Colorado are considering a bill to regulate fantasy sports websites like DraftKings and FanDuel.
In Colorado, an estimated 800,000 people play fantasy sports on a regular basis, including state Rep. Crisanta Duran.
“Only when I come up with teams like the Broncos, that’s it,” she said laughing.
Duran, D-Denver, also admits that she hasn’t won, but she wants to ensure that anyone who plays at least has a fair shot at winning, which is why she’s introduced a bill to regulate the industry for the first time in Colorado.
“Many of the regulations are similar to what we currently use for casinos. It’s a way to make sure that when individuals are playing the games online there’s integrity in the games they play and they have a fair shot to win,” she said.
The bill establishes the state Office of Fantasy Sports to draft rules and license operators.
Gov. John Hickenlooper says he supports some regulation.
“There are some legitimate issues about how it affects the life of our citizens; is it having an effect on lottery sales?” Hickenlooper said.
There’s also the question of whether it’s illegal gambling. Several states have banned it.
“I think playing fantasy sports is a game of skill. You have to come up with your players, your team, there’s a lot of strategy and thinking that goes into it,” Duran said.
But the governor isn’t so sure.
“Obviously there’s a huge amount of chance involved in it; but there are certain people who seem to do better at that than others. Can’t you say the same thing about poker? I do pretty poorly. My son cleans my clock every time,” Hickenlooper said.
Peter Schoenke, the chair of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, says the industry supports the legislation.
The casino gambling industry in Colorado isn’t taking a position on the bill, which will likely be amended.
Rep. Alec Garnett, who sits on the first committee that will hear the bill, says he plans to run an amendment to create more transparency in players’ skill levels to make sure amateurs aren’t playing professionals and in promotions to make sure bonuses are paid out fairly.
The bill has bipartisan support.