Pallone, Menendez Call for Fairness in Daily Fantasy Sports, outside MetLife Stadium
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Today, at a press conference outside MetLife Stadium, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) discussed Congressional efforts to ensure fairness and a level playing field for fantasy sports enthusiasts participating in online daily games, and called attention to the hypocrisy of professional sports leagues in opposing sports betting while supporting daily fantasy sports. The lawmakers were joined by East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella.
“Daily fantasy sports is an industry crying for consumer protection,” said Congressman Pallone. “Despite its explosion in popularity and the allegation of ‘insider trading’ by employees of daily fantasy sports operators, the industry is operating in a void within the legal structure – without any regulation or the necessary transparency. The backdrop of MetLife Stadium calls attention to the fact that the same professional sports leagues and teams that support and invest in fantasy sports betting, are opposed to and serve as a barrier to professional sports wagering. The illegality of sports betting has forced it to function almost exclusively through organized crime, and the lack of regulation of daily fantasy sports has left the industry open to unfair practices and consumer vulnerabilities. Both need to be taken out of the shadows and should be legal and regulated.”
“I have serious concerns about whether these online fantasy sports leagues can police themselves,” said Senator Menendez. “This is about fairness and ensuring a level playing field for fantasy sports fans. There’s a lot of money at stake, and these sites are drawing in tons of players. These players should know they aren’t being duped. I think Congress needs to look into this and see whether by exempting fantasy sports from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, we’ve created a regulatory vacuum that leaves consumers out in the cold.”
Pallone is the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over professional sports and gambling. Last month, he requested a Committee hearing to review the legal status of daily fantasy sports.
Pallone and Menendez sent a joint-letter last week to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), urging it to explore and implement necessary safeguards after it was revealed that employees of these fantasy gaming sites with access to inside information were playing on rival sites and pocketing big winnings.