Minority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Tuesday that Congress should look into the world of online fantasy sports betting, following a New York Times report of employees of sites betting with information not generally available to the public.
"Some of the owners of those programs know what is going on with their competitors so they can make a lot of money, and that’s what they’ve done,” the Nevada Democrat said. "It should also be a warning shot to everybody: Online gaming is a real scary thing and we’d better look at all of it."
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on Tuesday called for a committee hearing into the matter, "to review the legal status of fantasy sports and sports betting."
"Daily fantasy sports is functioning in a Wild West void within the legal structure," Pallone said in a statement. "Like professional sports betting, fantasy sports should be legal, but both are currently operating in the shadows. With little legal oversight and deep investments into these sites by the same professional sports leagues that oppose traditional sports wagering, these issues are ripe for Congressional review.”
This is not the first time Reid and Pallone have called for congressional scrutiny. On Sept. 22, CQ Roll Call interviewed Reid about online fantasy sports betting, the transcript of which is reprinted below:
LESNIEWSKI: Senator Reid…
REID: "I recognize that voice."
"How come you’re back there? You’re supposed to be over here."
LESNIEWSKI: "On a completely different topic, but…"
REID: "The Nationals, right? Bryce Harper for MVP."
LESNIEWSKI: It’s a sports question actually…
LESNIEWSKI: "… but it’s not about baseball."
REID: "As long as it’s not about hockey."
LESNIEWSKI: "What do you make of all of these — I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but these — these fantasy games that have been dominating all of the commercial time during the NFL games and whatnot? I think you’re going to find it might be of interest to someone from Las Vegas."
REID: "As some of you know, in one of my prior lives, I was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, and during those days, we were the only gambling deal in town. Gambling is a very difficult thing to control, and it’s — when you have the commodity as cash, it’s very hard to control."
"And so I — one, when I was recovering from my injury, somebody sent me a long book to listen to dealing with fantasy sports. To be honest with you, I appreciate the gift, but I — it just didn’t mean anything to me. I’m not into that stuff. I like the real thing. My point is, I hope there’s ways of controlling this money that’s obviously being bet on fake games and fake players."
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