Washington reps mull legalizing cash-based fantasy sports - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington reps mull legalizing cash-based fantasy sports

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Considered illegal online gambling, a new bill would make fantasy sports exempt. Considered illegal online gambling, a new bill would make fantasy sports exempt.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The 2014-2015 NFL football season is one game away from being over, but Washington state representatives already have next season on their minds. 

Eric Pettigrew, representative of Washington's 37th Legislative District has recently pushed forward a bill that would legalize cash-based fantasy sports.

"It was deemed by our gambling commission, initially under the definition of online gambling," says Pettigrew. "It fit the criteria."

Many online fantasy leagues won't allow Washington residents from even registering because it's illegal in the state, but free leagues allow participants to set their own wagers.

"This year the loser has to get a really bad haircut," says Taylor Ellis.

Ellis and his roommates have each been involved in more than one fantasy league this year. Wagers have varied throughout the many years they've been competing against each other.

"We've talked about having the loser get a tattoo," says Clint Mason.

"Usually it's just 10 bucks here, 20 bucks there and we split it between the first and second place people," says Jack Delamontaigne

Considered illegal online gambling, if passed, the bill would make fantasy sports exempt.

"I've never looked at it as a chance based game," says Pettigrew. "Instead I see it more as skill based."

Though some leagues offer thousands of dollars in prizes Ellis and his roommates say they'd rather stick to the camaraderie of betting small.

"I'd rather just stick to playing with my friends. A little cash here and there, bragging rights, that type of thing," says Delamontaigne.

In 2012 a similar bill was passed in Maryland, one being pushed forward in Iowa and others have failed in Arizona and Louisiana.

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