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AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Here's what you need to know before playing daily fantasy sports

Georgia lawmakers this year shelved a bill that would have legalized online daily fantasy sports by declaring them games of skill, not chance. But if daily online fantasy sports ever does get Georgia's OK, players should know this about the skills involved.

Under terms of a settlement of those cases announced last fall, DraftKings and FanDuel must clearly disclose the rate of success of those who play the games and the share of winnings going to the top 1%, 5% and 10% of players. The two companies also agreed to pay $6 million each to resolve the lawsuits by the state's attorney general alleging false and deceptive advertising.

Most players lost money over time, the lawsuits said.

The New York Times also had reported in 2015 that employees of DraftKings and FanDuel were among the winners, raising concerns that they may have used inside information.

New York lawmakers had authorized fantasy sports betting last summer. Georgia has been thwarted in its efforts to legal the online games, although they are estimated to be played by more than 1 million residents here.

In 2016,  state Sen. Renee Unterman pushed a bill to authorize and regulate the games. “This is a game of skill, that you are actually following and researching the players and teams,” Unterman said, according to an AJC report.

But that bill stalled after Georgia's attorney general's office advised in an informal opinion that online fantasy sports games are illegal gambling. DraftKings and FanDuel then reportedly stopped accepting Georgia players.

Twelve states have authorized the online games, after Mississippi last month approved legislation to authorize and regulate them.

Among states now consider legalizing the games are Texas and New Jersey,  according to news reports.


Note: This post has been updated to state that the New York Times had reported that employees of daily fantasy sports companies were among winners. That information was not part of the attorney general's lawsuit that was settled last year.

A spokesman who had worked for DraftKings and FanDuel said that scripts were banned by both companies and the Georgia legislation that they supported also banned the use of scripts.







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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.