Elections 2018: Louisiana voters to consider fantasy sports gaming

Voters in each parish will get to decide Nov. 6 on whether to allow such gambling

Battle lines drawn over fantasy sports gambling proposal

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Fantasy sports gambling like DraftKings and FanDuel is illegal in Louisiana.

But come Nov. 6, voters will get the opportunity to consider making it legal in their parish.

And that proposal has the battle lines drawn between those who see the need for revenue and those who have or help people who have a gambling problem.

“If it’s regulated the right way, I think it will be a lot of fun down here,” said Blake Fife, a fan of fantasy sports.

For years, he has worked to pick the perfect fantasy team and with the goal of winning cash prizes.

Problem is, he has to travel outside Louisiana to play.

“Actually getting trips planned to go to Texas, to Mississippi or any place where you can do sports betting.”

On Nov. 6, Fife said, he will vote for legalizing fantasy sports gaming in Caddo Parish.

The decision is being made on the parish level.

If a parish’s voters approve the proposal, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board would create regulations and tax the contests.

Supporters say that will mean additional revenue.

Shreveport radio host Ben Mintz, who dedicates a special hour of his show to fantasy sports, says he’s waited years for Louisiana to open its mind to legalizing such contests.

“I come back to the point if you can do the lottery, if you can do slot machines, then I don’t see how it could be a problem.”

Opponents of the fantasy sports gaming proposal say it will lead to more gambling addiction.

Fantasy sports isn’t any more addictive than other forms of gambling such as slots or the lottery, said Janet Miller, executive director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling.

“People would like to differentiate them. The difference would be obviously in the way you play fantasy sports versus the other forms of gambling.”

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