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Reid Unloads on Fantasy Sports, Washington Football

Columnist George Will, from left, Reid and Harper before a Nationals game. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Columnist George Will, from left, Reid and Harper before a Nationals game. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says Congress should act to stop weekly fantasy sports contests that he defines as unregulated gambling.  

“I think we should do something here legislatively, but you know, I don’t get much done around here with my Republican colleagues,” Reid said Wednesday. “If not, state attorney generals and other state entities should take a look at this because it’s really unfair.”  

It’s the most strident the Nevada Democrat has been yet about the fantasy sports industry, whose advertisements from market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel are hard to avoid during any televised sporting event.  

Speaking with CQ Roll Call during a wide-ranging interview in his Capitol office, Reid sought to dispel the idea his concerns about the fantasy sports games were related to the legal gambling interests in his home state.  

“Being anti-fantasy sports has nothing to do with Nevada gaming, and it really doesn’t,” Reid said Wednesday. “It’s the only type of gambling in America that’s unregulated, nothing else, and that’s not right.”  

Before coming to Congress, Reid was Nevada’s top gaming regulator.  

“I know something about gaming. If people at the top want to cheat, you have trouble doing anything about it, and obviously people at the top have done very little to stop things being done that are unfair to the other people that are betting on these fantasy sports,” he said.  

Reid’s well known as a bit of a sports fanatic, particularly when it comes to Major League Baseball.  

That was apparent when he mentioned his choice of Wednesday evening television programming. There’s a GOP presidential debate scheduled to air opposite the second game of the World Series.  

“The Republicans are having two debates tonight. One with the little kids and one with the big kids,” Reid said of the division among contenders based on poll standings. “I may try to watch the little kids debate because it’ll be before the World Series, but not a chance I’ll watch the grown-ups debate.”  

Reid said he concurred with Washington Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper about the World Series this year.  

“I hope that the Mets win. That’s what he hopes, and I do too,” said Reid, adding his “disappointment” about the Nationals, who finished seven games behind the Mets in their division.  

And there’s no surprise about his choice for the National League’s top player of the year. “I hope that Harper wins the most valuable player award, and if he doesn’t I don’t know what he could do … because he’s so far ahead of everybody else,” the minority leader said.  

Reid again lamented the dismissal of Carson City, Nev., native Matt Williams as Nationals manager, but said the team just did not come together on his watch.  

“If they get a good manager, make a few personnel changes, I hope we have a better baseball year. I love baseball season,” Reid said. “I’m not anymore a football fan. The Redskins have taken all that out of me — I should say the Washington team — but I love baseball.”  

Reid said there was no doubt Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s opposition to changing the team’s name was hurting the franchise.  

“That name’s going to go away. It’s just a question of when. They can’t survive that way,” “Why should I be cheering that the Washington football team lose? I haven’t in years past, but I do now. I was so disappointed when they won in the last minute on Sunday.”  

The Redskins rallied from a 24-point deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

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