Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Bipartisan bill would ensure fantasy sports not considered illegal gambling

In response to national debate, lawmaker pushes bill to clarify definition
Flickr user Mike Morbeck

For those wondering whether or not their fantasy sports league counts as illegal gambling, a new bill would clear some things up.

The bill, authored by Rep. Tyler Vorpagel, R-Plymouth, would include a legal definition of fantasy sports that states they are not considered gambling. A consumer protection framework would also be instated.

Vorpagel said it’s important to make a law to clarify the legality of fantasy sports.


“The long and short of it is, it’s something that’s allowed under federal law,” Vorpagel said. “It’s currently in practice and in existence and I just think it’s important that we give some stability to the industry.”

According to top 20 sportfogadási oldal 2022, Congress passed the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act” in 2006, which outlawed online poker and other online gambling, but provided a specific exemption for fantasy sports since they are considered a game of skill.

But, whether or not fantasy sports is a form of gambling has been surrounded with contention.

According to DraftKings’ website, Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada and Washington have cash prize restrictions that prevent residents in those states from participating in fantasy sports.

Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, said fantasy sports falls under the definition of gambling.

“I believe that any time you wager money on something and hope to get a bigger return, that is considered gambling,” Sinicki said.

Fantasy sports should then fall under the category of online gambling, Sinicki said, which makes it a high-risk activity. She said the immediate accessibility of online gambling through cell phones and computers makes it easy to run up costs quickly, and send people into debt.

But, Vorpagel said fantasy sports are not gambling because they involve skill rather than pure chance.

“There’s an incredible amount of skill and knowledge that people use and utilize [in fantasy sports],” Vorpagel said.

Another provision of the bill would require players to be 18 years or older to play.

Sinicki said the nature of fantasy sports makes it impossible to tell for sure whether or not players are actually 18 or older, since the gaming is done online.

Another potential problem with legalizing fantasy sports, Sinicki said, is that Wisconsin has a contract with American Indian reservations which states Wisconsin will not legalize more gambling outside of the reservations. Reservations could take the state to court for legalizing another form of gambling, she added.  

The bill would also create a number of consumer protection laws. Fantasy game operators would have to register with financial institutions, and employees would be prevented from participating in games and sharing confidential information with third parties, Vorpagel said.

Operational money would also have to be separate from player money, to ensure the money in players’ accounts are backed.

Vorpagel said his bill would not have a noticeable impact on players.

“I don’t think it would change anything for players other than some of these consumer protection requirements, which they wouldn’t notice right away,” Vorpagel said. “It’s more of a protection if something were to happen down the road.”

The bill will next be reviewed by Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *