Monday, March 28, 2016

UPDATE: Tennessee Legislation Could End Fantasy Sports in "The Nanny State"

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article (click here to read) making my readers aware of legislation pending in the Tennessee Legislature, which would result in significant, unneeded, and unnecessary regulations being placed upon the fantasy sports industry in our state. Since I ran that article, the legislation has drastically changed, for the worse, and it's been blowing through the legislature's committee system like Le'Veon Bell through the Tennessee Titans' defense. (Ouch!)

Tennessee State Seal
Tennessee State Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The house version of the bill has added 2 new Republican sponsors, Rep. Kent Calfee and Rep. Art Swann. So, the bill now has a total of 5 sponsors and 4 of them are Republicans. For years, the GOP was the party of small government and little regulation, but not anymore. This is more evidence that the GOP as a whole is now "Democrat-lite".

Now, regarding how the bill has changed - the original bill has now been completely rewritten via 20 pages of amendments. I encourage all to go read not only the text of the bill but all 20 pages of amendments, too, by clicking here. Then, click on the "Amendments" tab. The restrictions and regulations this bill will put in place are immense. For instance, one section of the bill could ban autodrafts.

What's an autodraft? Well, each year prior to my fantasy football drafts, I go into my account, whether it be with or somewhere else, and set my autodraft settings in case something came up at the last minute, and I can not be at my computer at draft time to select my team. I can set which position (QB, RB, WR, TE, DEF) I want to draft in each round. It's kinda like the "out of office" function on your e-mail. Because of this and other restrictions, I could see fantasy sports businesses saying, "The heck with it", and not offering their products, whether free or fee-based, to Tennesseans anymore. They may not want to fool with the new, asinine, nanny-state guidelines that this bill will put in place. This bill could in essence turn into a fantasy sports ban in Tennessee.

I think the state has 2 motives for this legislation. First, they think fantasy sports is "gambling", which is incorrect in the purest sense of the term. "Gambling" relies almost solely on luck. Fantasy sports do not. With fantasy sports, the player has to do some homework, as I previously mentioned, to determine which athletes, whether they be in football or some other sport, should be inserted into their lineup to give them the best chance of winning. "Gambling" is relying on nothing but the toss of a dice, or on being dealt a certain card, or on a certain number or group of numbers being drawn. Your potential for success is almost completely out of your hands as a player. Not so in fantasy sports. If you don't do your homework, you will lose.

Tennessee Lottery
Tennessee Lottery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now, one thing that IS "gambling" is the Tennessee Lottery. No homework and no skill whatsoever go into playing the lottery. You go pick your numbers, or have the computer pick them for you, pay the ticket price, and wait to see if your numbers get drawn. However, the state's cool with that, because it funds education, and "It's for the children." Sound familiar? That's one of the left's top arguments for anything and everything. You can't get anymore hypocritical than the state of Tennessee has when it's perfectly fine with having a state lottery but it wants to regulate fantasy football out of existence.

However, if the state can get it's hooks into fantasy sports, regulate them, and get a piece of the pie, then I guess they won't considerate it "gambling" anymore. Everything will be all hunkydory, because the state will have blessed it.

Second, I think the legislature worries that if fee based fantasy sports, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, go unregulated in Tennessee, the games will begin to compete with the lottery for players and ultimately siphon money away from the "state sponsored gambling industry". Big government hates competition, and when it comes to money the state is much like the mob - don't mess with its cash inflows or you'll get a visit from Uncle Billy and a little bada-bing-bada-boom. Capische?

As I said in my previous post about this legislation, fantasy sports is unimportant in the overall grand scheme of things, so please don't take the 2 posts I've written as, "The Sheepdog's just pissed because they're screwing with fantasy football." If you think that, then you're completely missing my overall point here, which is that we as a state have other more pressing needs right now. However, it's become quite obvious that the Tennessee legislature doesn't care about any of that.

The legislature has held multiple committee meetings and wasted hours and hours of their time on writing amendments, discussing, debating, and voting on regulating fantasy football (and other fantasy sports) while ignoring the much more pressing needs of Tennesseans. These include the fact that many of the state's citizens can't find work, don't have good health care, are addicted to alcohol and illegal drugs, live in crime infested neighborhoods, and have to drive on deteriorating bridges and roads that are so rough it's like driving on the moon. I could go on and on. So, WHY IS THE DADGUM TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE SPENDING ITS TIME WORRYING ABOUT HOW TO REGULATE AND MAKE MONEY OFF OF FANTASY FOOTBALL?!?! I'm past being fed up with the state's leadership.

This is one of the most ridiculous bills the legislature has ever considered. In my opinion, any member of the Tennessee legislature who has sponsored, voted for, or allowed the legislature's time to be wasted on this pathetic piece of legislation instead of more pressing issues should be voted out of office. By the way, did I mention this is an election year? Well, it is. So, when you go vote, remember that Billy Haslam and his GOP Big Government friends have turned "The Volunteer State" into "The Nanny State", and they all need to be replaced.

P.S. If you're a Tennessee resident, and feel like I do about this issue, then please take a moment to contact your elected state representative and voice your opinion. This legislation passed the full Tennessee State Senate earlier this afternoon, and it's likely to be up for a vote on the floor of the Tennessee House very soon. If you do not know who represents you, then click here to find out. Then, on the right side of the page you're directed to, enter in your address under "Find My Legislator", and then click the "Search" button.