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Dear Mr. Fantasy: Send Me to Washington

Fantasy Sports Lobbies the Government

Special note — This is the 1000th post in the history of Fantasy Baseball Dugout.

What is the world coming to?

Lesean McCoy fantasy football star

THE REAL McCOY: If some states have their way, you won't be able to get Lesean McCoy, or any football player for that matter, on your fantasy team.

Fantasy sports has entered the world of politics.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association has hired its first federal lobbyist and launched a PAC that will support the campaigns of political candidates that have a favorable view of fantasy sports.

Travis McCoy, a former aide to House Speaker John Boehner, is the treasurer of the association’s newly formed PAC. McCoy is also an avid fantasy sports gamer.

According to a story in USA Today, fantasy sports generated $1.9 billion in revenue in 2008. Last year, almost 20% of all American males age 12+ in the United States played at least one fantasy sport, said Peter Schoenke, president of RotoWire.

Fantasy sports is big business on the web as well. In September, US fantasy sports sites drew 312 million visits as the start of the National Football League began and fantasy baseball fans continued their push to their fantasy league pennant, reported Hitwise.

In 2006, a federal law aimed at curbing online gambling was passed. The law was the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Although the legislation did not ban online gambling per se, it did ban US financial institutions from processing online gambling transactions. It was successful in driving many online poker and sports books from the USA market. The legislation carved out fantasy sports from the law. This has helped to spur growth and add additional legitimacy to the fantasy sports industry that online gambling no longer enjoys.

The 2006 law, however, has not stopped many states from passing their own legislation that prohibits fantasy sports players from collecting winnings from online fantasy games. Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana and Washington are among the states that make it difficult, if not downright illegal, for their residents to play fantasy sports, McCoy said. Such laws were enacted by legislators that clearly did not understand fantasy sports.

“The FSTA saw an opportunity and wanted to open up these states and markets for their members to bring in more jobs, create more tax revenue,” he said. “We’re going to go into those states to make sure people can have fun and enjoy their games.”

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