Pallone Wants Congressional Hearing on Fantasy Football (Video)

Pallone Jr. calls for a congressional hearing into fantasy football leagues. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Pallone Jr. calls for a congressional hearing into fantasy football leagues. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted September 14, 2015 at 5:03pm

If you found the unending, repetitive and relentless stream of fantasy football commercials that flooded this weekend’s National Football League broadcasts annoying, you weren’t alone.  

On Monday, New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. called for a congressional hearing into the relationship between the NFL and the fantasy leagues that clogged airwaves during this season’s opening weekend.  

“Anyone who watched a game this weekend was inundated by commercials for fantasy sports websites, and it’s only the first week of the NFL season,” Pallone said in a statement. “These sites are enormously popular, arguably central to the fans’ experience, and professional leagues are seeing the enormous profits as a result. Despite how mainstream these sites have become, though, the legal landscape governing these activities remains murky and should be reviewed.”  

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Pallone, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter to Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas, asking for a review of the leagues’ legal status, in particular how the leagues, which offer cash prizes to fans who pay to join, differ from sports betting, which is not legal in all states.  

Online sports betting and online gambling are prohibited under federal law, but the leagues are taking advantage of a loophole that has become known as the fantasy sports “carve out,” according to Pallone.  

This loophole has blurred the lines between betting conducted through fantasy sports websites and online gambling.  

“Fans are currently allowed to risk money on the performance of an individual player. How is that different than wagering money on the outcome of a game?” Pallone said.  

The full text of the letter can be found here .