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California Could be Next to Ban Daily Fantasy Sports 

Wednesday, Nov 18 2015
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"I've been playing fantasy sports for over a decade. I'm in first place in my fantasy football league. I would never outlaw fantasy sports," Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin County) says during a recent phone interview. But last week, Levine became daily fantasy sports' archenemy in California.

On Nov. 2, he asked state Attorney General Kamala Harris to issue an immediate cease-and-desist order against DraftKings, FanDuel, and other daily fantasy sports websites — this just days after New York's attorney general ordered those same companies to shut down operations in the Empire State.

In daily fantasy sports, online players compete to build teams of athletes and earn fantasy points based on real-life performances as in "traditional" fantasy sports, only with more immediate payouts. DraftKings and FanDuel began as venture capital-backed startups and now boast more than 3.5 million players and a billion-dollar industry.

Although neither company commented to SF Weekly about California's potential crackdown, the OC Register reports that DraftKings CEO Jason Robins was in the state last week, hoping to reposition his embattled company as a "new, disruptive technology."

Levine dismisses the tech affiliation. Citing state law, which prohibits gambling enterprises without explicit permits, he wants to regulate daily fantasy sports.

"It's a farce to call these games of skill," he says. Lawmakers in six other states agree — including Nevada, which requires daily fantasy sports sites to apply for a gambling license.

But like real football, the fantasy debate is becoming a partisan spat. Chris Christie, New Jersey governor and Republican presidential longshot, dubs the issue "another crazy economic regulation from a liberal Democrat."

Let the games begin.

About The Author

Jeremy Lybarger

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