Lawmakers overhaul fantasy sports regulation bill

An Indiana House committee has made major changes to a bill that would regulate daily fantasy sports games such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

Senate Bill 339, authored by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, aims to provide basic consumer protections for Hoosiers who participate.

The House Committee on Public Policy on Wednesday passed an amendment offered by Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, that would put the Indiana Gaming Commission in charge of regulating the games. The original bill called for the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to the provide the oversight.

Dermody said the change would offer, “broad powers, rule-making authority and emergency rule-making authority” to the agency.

“I thought it was important to give broad strokes because we don’t know much about the regulation of this and where this game is going,” Dermody said.

The panel had considered raising the legal age for playing the games to 21 but left it at 18.

Dermody’s amendment also increases the operator licensing fee from $5,000 to $75,000, plus an annual $20,000 fee. Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, said he thinks the increase is arbitrary.

“You (the government) let innovation happen in the market and then we hurry up and we make barriers to potential new innovations,” Huston said. “Any fear that’s what we’re doing here? If you’re a provider or a provider that we have never even heard of before —better yet—a young entrepreneur, these are pretty stiff amounts to come up with to create innovation.”

Another issue brought up during Wednesday’s meeting was how winnings would be taxed and the mechanics of withholding prize money if someone is behind on child support payments. If the bill makes it to the House floor, lawmakers expect it undergo more changes.

The committee voted 12-1 to approve the bill, which will be considered by the House Committee on Ways and Means.

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