Shawnee lawmaker may consider legislation to protect pay/prize-winning fantasy sports in Kansas

If one Kansas lawmaker has his way, you might only need to worry about your keepers before the 2015 season instead of whether you're breaking the law in your pursuit of fantasy football winnings.

Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Shawnee, tweeted Thursday he would consider legislation during the 2015 session to protect fantasy sports leagues involving money in Kansas.

 

The state of Kansas' gaming commission has interpreted for years the illegality of fantasy sports leagues involving money, but a post this week by a Forbes blogger brought new attention to the issue.

A story by the Wichita Eagle followed up:

The commission recently put the revised language on fantasy sports back on its site. Marc Edelman, a writer for Forbes.com, noticed the change and wrote a post saying that Kansas had outlawed fantasy sports. A media storm ensued.

“He’s the one who started this whole brouhaha,” Taylor said. “So we’ve been getting calls from everywhere: Fox News, New York, attorneys around the country and, you know, TV and newspapers. And there’s absolutely nothing to it. And like I said, it’s not a policy, it’s just our interpretation.”

Judith Taylor, the general counsel for the Kansas Gaming and Racing Commission, told the Lawrence Journal-World she was unaware of any actual case being brought against fantasy players in the state.

Taylor said the commission would not enforce any action against a fantasy football league, leaving that to the discretion of local law enforcement. She said as far as she knew, in Kansas there has never been a case brought against a fantasy football league.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said, “Our office has no record of ever prosecuting someone nor would I would anticipate ever prosecuting someone for fantasy football unless it was an obvious gambling enterprise.”

So if some lawmakers have their way, countless Kansas fantasy sports fans may not need to ponder if they'll break the law and instead can focus more on handcuffing their star running back or finding that sleeper infielder.

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