MONTGOMERY – The Legislature gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow Alabamians to wager on fantasy sports.
Sponsored by Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette, House Bill 361 would allow adults to place bets on fantasy sports through sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings. The bill passed the House on May 8 by a vote of 74-22. But the Senate amended it to raise the tax rate on operators. The House approved that amendment Tuesday, and it now goes to the governor.
Fantasy sports contests allow fans to draft players from real professional rosters and select teams to compete against peers in regular contests. Many sports are offered, but professional football, basketball and baseball are the most popular.
Playing fantasy sports is legal and common in Alabama, but betting on the contests is no longer allowed.
South said an estimated 700,000 Alabamians were wagering on fantasy sports before former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange declared the games illegal, saying he considered them to be forms of gambling. Strange sent letters to FanDuel and DraftKings telling them to cease and desist operations in the state in April 2016.
The websites complied and began blocking internet addresses based in Alabama. South said that decision led many to cross state lines to place their wagers.