NFL /FANTASY SPORTS LEFT NOTHING TO CHANCE BACKING ONLINE GAMBLING BAN

15 December 2006

HENDERSONVILLE TIMES NEWS – Hendersonville, N.C.
By EDDIE PELLS – AP National Writer

For many NFL fans, there are millions of dollars up for grabs over the final weeks of the season. They watch every game, every player, in the hopes that those receivers, running backs and quarterbacks can turn small investments into big money.

Their hopes are pinned on the fates of their fantasy football teams. Sounds a lot like gambling, doesn’t it? But in the eyes of the NFL and the legal code of the United States, there’s nothing illegal about it.

Fantasy football received a free pass in a recently signed law that seeks to ban most online gambling, specifically targeting online poker. The law, signed by the president in October, was backed by the NFL and its well-paid lobbyist.

“It’s hard to assume anything,” said Anthony Cabot, an attorney who specializes in gaming law and internet gambling. “But it’s fairly clear from the correspondence related to the bill that an NFL lobbyist was, in fact, very active in the effort to get this bill passed. And there’s no question the NFL is a significant beneficiary of the exemption on fantasy sports.”

An estimated 12.8 million players, including a handful of NFL players themselves, play fantasy football.

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