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Congress to hold hearings on daily fantasy sports

The United States Capitol Building dome, Washington DC

Getty Images/iStockphoto

[Editor’s note: FanDuel is an advertiser of PFT and PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Also, NBC Sports has an equity stake in FanDuel.]

With the daily fantasy industry facing various challenges at the state level, the federal government reportedly is planning to get involved.

Via multiple reports gathered by SportsBusiness Daily, Congress will hold hearings in November regarding the proliferation of daily fantasy sports games for money.

“We were thinking about friends getting together and playing fantasy sports where, at the end of the season, there would be a winner,” Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) told ESPN regarding the 2006 law that legalized fantasy sports, via SBD. “No one envisioned a multibillion dollar industry, daily games, hundreds of thousands of people playing, billions of dollars at stake. And look, at the end of the day, we have poker, horse racing -- you can get better at skills by practicing and studying up, but they’re regulated as gambling.”

At this point, the best-case scenario for the industry could be the issuance of comprehensive regulations. The worst case would be a decision by Congress to change its mind about fantasy sports, making it gambling and in turn illegal throughout the country.

Even if the federal government decides to allow fantasy sports to continue with regulations aimed at avoiding, for example, the use of inside information by employees of DFS companies, the industry is still facing the possibility that the states will join Nevada’s effort to protect its own legalized gambling operations -- or at a minimum to get a piece of the action.

Ultimately, that’s what’s happening. The FanDuels and DraftKings of the world have created from nothing a machine that is generating millions in cash. It’s apparently now time for Uncle Sam and his 50 nieces and nephews to get their fair share, regardless of what is and isn’t objectively fair.