Usually, movements towards online gambling regulation in the US are seen as a good thing. Even when they don’t concern online poker directly, they demonstrate the willingness to go in the right direction.
However, latest proposal to regulate Daily Fantasy Sports in Ohio, submitted by Senator Bill Coley, is borderline absurd.
Daily Fantasy Sports with no fees?
Colley’s proposal to regulate DFS in Ohio contains the language which claims that Draft Kings, Fan Duel, as well as other smaller daily fantasy sports operators, are breaking the law by charging customers for their services. He believes that sites should only be allowed to operate if 100% of the money is distributed to players.
While this may sound as a dream come true for players at a first glance, it is anything but. Is there a nice restaurant out there that serves you meals and drinks of your choice and then doesn’t charge you anything? Can you go to a gas station, fill up your tank, and be on your marry way without paying a penny?
Of course not.
The business operation that doesn’t make money stops being a business operation. While some insist that sites could make money from the ads, this model has been tried in the past with some poker sites – and it failed miserably. It just doesn’t work.
Fan Duel & DraftKings with a different take on the matter
According to Senator Coley, the bill would not shut down the businesses which currently operate in Ohio, but it would prevent them from taking in the rake. He claims that practice of charging rake is, in fact, illegal, but prosecutors in the state are not interested in pursuing the matter.
DraftKings and Fan Duel, the two biggest daily fantasy sports sites in the States disagree with this stance. Their spokesman explained that online DFS sites in the state are perfectly legal and that they are involved in a process of trying to update the laws so to fit recent technological changes.
Answering further to Coley’s allegations, Marc La Vorgna, the spokesman for the both sites, stated that the Senator was out of touch with state residents who enjoy fantasy sports and don’t mind paying reasonable fees for the privilege of competition.
As of right now, Ohioan law is actually unclear on the DFS, as lawmakers haven’t made up their mind about whether it represents a game of skill or a game of luck.
Ohio online poker implications
Although chances are slim to none for this bill to ever become an actual law, its implications for online poker in Ohio would be detrimental. There is hardly a site out there that would be interested in offering rake-free games, so a law like this would put a stop on any hopes for regulated online poker in the state.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.