Georgia lawmaker introduces bill to regulate fantasy sports

Fantasy sports would be regulated in Georgia under legislation in the state House that has won industry support.

Under House Bill 118, companies operating daily fantasy sports websites would apply for registration with the state for an adjustable fee, pay a 6 percent annual tax and receive licensing.

State Rep. Trey Kelley, R-Cedartown, a sponsor of the bill, said it is designed to protect consumers. Given the challenges fantasy sports operators have faced in other states, the bill would also protect the estimated 1.5 million Georgians who play.

Online sports gaming received scrutiny in 2015 from then-Attorney General Sam Olens, who suggested an investigation into whether daily fantasy sports sites, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, fell under state prohibitions on gambling. Olens' review came after the New York attorney general called for a cease-and-desist order to those companies, saying it constituted illegal gambling under New York state law.

Kelley, testifying Wednesday before the state House Ways and Means Committee, said he views fantasy sports as a game of skill, requiring research and practice, and not a game of chance.

“To me, the issues are separate. I have serious reservations about pure gambling in our state, but games of skill are already allowed,” he said. “Golf tournaments, bass fishing tournaments, skeet shoots. We already allow those. I just see this as the proper classification.”

But representatives still questioned its difference from gambling.

"It sounds like friendly competition, and the money is ancillary to it, but if the money is the whole driving factor, then it does sounds like gambling," said state Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe. "It would be hard for me to explain that in Walton County."

The legislation would provide information about “responsible play” and “assistance for compulsive behavior,” protect against employee conflicts of interest and stipulate that players must be at least 18 years of age. The bill does not specify how the fees collected would be allocated.

Sarah Koch, the assistant director of government affairs at DraftKings, and Cory Fox, the general counsel at FanDuel, speaking on behalf of both companies, said they supported the legislation.

“Common-sense consumer protection for players is the best way to make everyone feel comfortable that they are playing on legitimate websites,” Fox said.

Legislative session coverage

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the largest team covering the Georgia Legislature. To see more of its legislative coverage, go to To track particular bills and resolutions, check out the Georgia Legislative Navigator at You can also follow the proceedings on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Subscribe to our newsletter for more news about Georgia politics. Subscribe to politics news alerts in the AJC news app.