Game On: The future of fantasy sports in the Buckeye State - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Game On: The future of fantasy sports in the Buckeye State

While season-long fantasy sports have been popular for a number of years, daily fantasy sports are now gaining players and controversy. (Source: WTOL) While season-long fantasy sports have been popular for a number of years, daily fantasy sports are now gaining players and controversy. (Source: WTOL)
Jahmal Green has been playing daily fantasy sports for about three years. (Source: WTOL) Jahmal Green has been playing daily fantasy sports for about three years. (Source: WTOL)
State Senator Bill Coley of Butler County has been looking closely at the debate over daily fantasy sports as the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering. (Source: WTOL) State Senator Bill Coley of Butler County has been looking closely at the debate over daily fantasy sports as the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering. (Source: WTOL)
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(WTOL) -

With the Super Bowl coming up, chances are you or someone you know is entered into an office fantasy sports pool.

While season-long fantasy sports have been popular for a number of years, daily fantasy sports are now gaining players and controversy.

Some states have banned the online games, and others are looking into whether it should be considered gambling. If it does fall under that category, decisions must be made on whether to regulate the activity.

Toledo resident, Jahmal Green, has been playing daily fantasy sports for about three years, and he's gotten pretty good.

"I've been playing with house money for about three years," said Jahmal. "What I like about it - is it gives you an opportunity to still be competitive in sports if you can't play."

Here's how it works:

On sites like FanDuel and DraftKings, players enter money to play. They are allocated a certain amount of dollars to set up a roster and choose players who are valued at different amounts. A player like the Golden State Warriors', Steph Curry, is valued much higher than most players.

"You wanna find that diamond in the rough. You wanna find that low-dollar guy or athlete that gives you a high amount of points. And that's how you offset the difference from playing that high dollar guy," said Jahmal.

The points Jahmal is referring to are awarded to players based on how they play in real life. Points are awarded for real-time baskets, rebounds, and assists for basketball and for touchdowns and receiving yards in football.

"What I've found, at least for what I play on - Draft Kings - if you just go above 300 points on any given day for which pool you play in, you will win money. If you're below that, probably not," said Jahmal.

As far as whether it's gambling, Jahmal says, "yes." But he says it also requires skill. 

"It's kinda like playing the stock market. You have to find the trends, find out who's hot, who's not. And if you can do those things, you can win money," he said.

What other states say:

The controversy over Daily Fantasy Sports came to a head in November, when New York's Attorney General filed a cease and desist order against FanDuel and Draft Kings, claiming it was illegal. In turn, the websites filed suit against the Attorney General, claiming the game is not of chance but of skill. 

The sites have been awarded a stay while their case continues.

Meanwhile, other states, including Illinois and Texas have banned daily fantasy sports altogether.

How Ohio is responding:

"It's a hot topic all over the country," says Ohio State Senator Bill Coley of Liberty Township. "You get into a lot of issues. First, is it subject to the state of Ohio sales tax? I think we need to gather more information...But I want to listen and keep an open mind to people on both sides."

Senator Coley says Daily Fantasy Sports will be a hot topic at the Statehouse this legislative session. He says the big thing is protecting the consumer.

"You wanna make sure it's fair and that everybody knows what they're walking into."

Coley says he's not sure whether or not daily fantasy sports should continue in Ohio. But if it does, he'd lobby for a structured set of rules.

For instance, new players wouldn't be allowed to play in the same pools as experienced players.

"We want to stay focused on this and produce a good product for the General Assembly," he said.

Legislature will soon look at whether lawmakers want to introduce this topic.

Jahmal says he hopes the state won't ban daily fantasy sports, but it wouldn't be too terrible.

"It wouldn't break my heart. I certainly would find another way to spend my money," he said. "What's really the difference between a lottery and online gambling? It's the same thing. You're taking a chance to win a lot of money."

A spokesperson for Ohio's Attorney General Mike Dewine said his office has not formed an opinion on the issue.

The Director of Communications for the Ohio Casino Control Board, Jessica Franks, provided this statement: 

"Daily fantasy sports do not fit neatly into the definition of casino gaming as Ohio law is currently written - however, we are following the discussions on the issue that are taking place both here in Ohio and in other jurisdictions. Should daily fantasy sports ultimately come under the Commission's oversight, we would work to ensure the industry follows all applicable laws and regulations, as we do currently with casino operations."

Meanwhile, in Michigan, Senate Bill 0459, sponsored by Sen. Curtis Hertel, has been introduced in the state legislature but hasn't been moved out of committee.

The Michigan Board of Gaming says "The Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act" does not currently address the "daily" fantasy sports website operations.  Enforcement of the criminal gambling laws rests with the Michigan Attorney General's Office.


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