Congress to Examine Fantasy Football Pay Sites?

Image: Odell Beckham
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) gestures before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Arlington, Texas.Tony Gutierrez / AP

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By Luke Russert

If you watched NFL games over the weekend, you were inundated with commercials from Draft Kings or FanDuel, fantasy football websites that promised payouts with real money.

Well a congressman from New Jersey noticed too and wants to review the legality of the sites because as online poker players know, Internet gambling is illegal in the United States.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., sent this letter (.pdf) to the GOP Leaders of the House Energy Commerce Committee, writing that he wanted to “hold a hearing examining the relationship between professional sports and fantasy sports to review the legal status of fantasy sports and sports betting."

Pallone asserts that the leagues operate in murky legal territory and points out the hypocrisy of professional sports leagues like the NFL being opposed to legalized betting but invested in pay-out fantasy sites.

The congressman is also playing a local angle: His home state of New Jersey tried to set up a sports book in Atlantic City but was denied after sports leagues sued.

It's unclear if this issue will be reviewed further by the Committee but the notoriously secret NFL most likely does not want to testify under oath on why the fantasy pay sites are different than a sports book.

The NFL did not immediately return a request for comment.