Texas State Rep. Richard Pena Raymond (D-Laredo) argued for a bill in favor of daily fantasy sports sites during a House committee hearing Monday.
Raymond co-authored House Bill 1457, a bill that defines daily fantasy sports as games of skill (tell that to my league’s “champion” this year), and would legalize daily fantasy sports leagues with no licensing fees and no criminal penalties for league operators.
“There are some things that government should not do — and taking away our right to play fantasy football is one of the things government should not do,” said Raymond.
HB 1457 is a direct response to a nonbinding ruling Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made last year when he stated that daily fantasy sports were a game “of chance” constituting gambling, which is illegal in Texas. A number of conservative groups backed him up.
“The definition of gambling in this case is accurately applied,” Ben Wright, pastor of Cedar Pointe Baptist Church and a representative of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, said in an Austin American-Statesman report.
Daily fantasy sports is legally allowed in 12 states: Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusettes, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia.
In Texas, the issue remains hotly contested. FanDuels left Texas in 2016 and DraftKings filed a lawsuit against the state, while it continues to operate there. HB 1457 is still left pending the committee hearing.