Skip to main content

Politics Shows the Importance of Testing Under One Roof

As most of you who follow the machinations of gambling and governments know, the New York AG has asked daily fantasy sports companies to cease operations in that state. This is another instance of a state or jurisdiction in a growing list of them - California, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania etc - to weigh in on the legality of these games.

New York (although most seem to think this is a big overreach) is an example of too many cooks in the kitchen, acting in a capricious way. The Feds passed a law stating these games are perfectly legal, companies invested capital in creating a form of them to be offered to the market, and the market - in massive numbers - has spoken. Now, the states are trying to find every which way to interpret that law, for whatever motivation (there are literally dozens, in my view) strikes them. It's a mess, with consumers (an estimated 60 million people enjoy fantasy as a hobby) caught in the middle.

Charles Hayward wrote an article today on his site, that I thought made some good points about federal testing and oversight. Reading the New York AG, and all the other states' Keystone Kops routine the last month with DFS, it should hit home.
".......the existing system is broken, seriously flawed, getting worse and is directly contributing to the decline in the Thoroughbred racing industry. Rules vary widely, state by state and are inconsistent. Drug testing is woefully inadequate with little differentiation between overages of legal therapeutic drugs and true performance enhancing drugs with penalties not consistent with the severity of the infraction. The individual states simply do not have the funding, the personnel or the motivation to do a competent job.
 
Anyone who has worked in U.S. racing and had contact with state racing regulators knows that generally these organizations are politically motivated and truly not interested in solving the serious problems that racing faces."
We read a lot about federal oversight, and USADA, and there are strong points on both sides, for and against. However, the system - with states sticking their noses in with "opinions", with appeals and lawyers, and lawyers and opinions, and different rules, and labs, and penalties - is broken. Badly broken.

Moving this under one roof, with one set of protocols and one set of penalties, and one set of appeals, and one set of ...... just about anything....... is much preferred.

If overzealous politicians or commissions aren't on board, or try to act in the arbitrary way in disparate states like they are with "DFS", well then wield the hammer -  the Interstate Horse Racing Act.

If this 'federal' legislation passes (an obvious longshot) there will be a lot of fighting and plenty of growing pains. There will be mistakes. USADA is not perfect. But wow, when I look at New York AG's and Pennsylvania politicians with DFS, I can't help but conclude it's badly needed. Removing these cooks from the kitchen can't help but make for a better broth.

Notes:

I expected American Pharoah to run away with the Sportsperson of the Year vote for SI. He's a horse and he stands out, and in a long human list that's a  built in edge. However the Royals - an interesting nominee seeing they're a team - are winning. You can do your part if you are so inclined.

The Big M begins tomorrow. I have to hand it to them, at least they try hard.



Comments

BitPlayer said…
The states are not interpreting federal law. They are interpreting their own gambling laws. The language in the federal statute only excludes fantasy games from the prohibitions contained in that statute. It does not override a state law that prohibits or regulates gambling in that state.