FanDuel, DraftKings Push Paxton Petition

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to media in June 2015.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to media in June 2015.

The fantasy sports industry is asking its Texas customers to lobby Attorney General Ken Paxton with petition signatures to leave their games alone.

Paxton is weighing whether fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings can legally operate in Texas. While some groups say the sites are hubs for online gambling, which is illegal, others contend the games are based on skill and are therefore legitimate.

The ambiguity led state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, to ask the attorney general in November for an opinion to clarify the issue. That same month, the New York attorney general attempted to shut down the two companies in that state, but they remain active as court challenges progress.

Fantasy Sports for All, a group backed by FanDuel and DraftKings, is promoting the companies' efforts to convince Paxton that their operations are legal by directing customers and supporters to an online petition.

“Fantasy sports games are enjoyed by millions of Texans," said Jeremy Kudon, a Fantasy Sports for All spokesman. "They are plenty capable of deciding whether or not they want to play our game. Texas is a state that embraces innovation and consumer freedom, and it would be a shame for that to be tainted by an act of government overreach.”

Paxton's office said in a statement Monday that campaigns don't — and won't  — impact pending opinions.

“A well-funded publicity campaign makes for good headlines. But the question in any attorney general opinion is how a court would rule on existing law," a spokesperson relayed. "A publicity campaign cannot and should not influence that objective inquiry. We have an existing request for an opinion on this issue, and will provide guidance based on the law.”

 

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