Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fantasy Sports Is Not Gambling, Or Is It

It seems that the outgoing regime is trying to crack down on online gambling. Or, at least they're trying to finalize legislation that does so. It seems in 2006 they created a bill that disallowed financial institutions from accepting payment to settle wagers. However, they did not define online gambling clearly enough. The enforcement of online gambling they are trying to push through does not include fantasy sports. Thank you:
Betting on fantasy sports is not viewed by law enforcement as illegal gambling and the NFL has supported Congress' ban
Rep Steve Cohen believes there is a conflict of interest here because Bush aide (Deputy Director of Public Liason) William Wichterman previously served at D.C. law firm Covington & Burling representing the NFL. They lobbied in support of the white house ban on internet gambling, and viewed fantasy football being something that does not fall under a form of internet gambling. Here are the details:

In a November 7 letter to Mr. Fielding, Rep. Cohen said he had been told that Mr. Wichterman "has been a source of considerable political pressure to speed this regulation through." The letter further stated, "The National Football League has been among the most vocal advocates for the proposed rule and the underlying law. I am sure you will agree that, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest is undeniable."
As recently as March 2008, Mr. Wichterman was a paid lobbyist for the NFL, which has been a strong opponent of all forms of Internet gambling except for fantasy sports - an activity that generates more than $1 billion a year in revenues. Mr. Wichterman recently left the law firm of Covington and Burling, which represents the NFL, to serve as a political appointee in the few remaining months of the Bush Administration.

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