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House vote backs making fantasy sports legal in Minnesota

ST. PAUL -- Fantasy sports should be legal in Minnesota, the state House decided Monday. Representatives gave 100-28 approval to legislation that would specifically make it legal. Current law is not clear. "Right now, we have a lot of ambiguity,"...

ST. PAUL -- Fantasy sports should be legal in Minnesota, the state House decided Monday.

Representatives gave 100-28 approval to legislation that would specifically make it legal. Current law is not clear.

"Right now, we have a lot of ambiguity," bill author Rep. Tim Sanders, R-Blaine, said.

With nearly million Minnesotans playing fantasy sports, the state has more players proportionally than any other state.

If not for the legislation, fantasy sports could face legal challenges as the state outlaws "betting" and "sports bookmaking," which some think would apply to fantasy sports.

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Besides making fantasy sports legal, the bill would limit game operators and their employees' participation, prevent sharing of inside information, require players to be 18 or older and limit the number of games a player may enter.

Rep. Joe Atkins, D-Inver Grove Heights, said he wanted to require registration for game operators. But after Sanders expressed discomfort after at least one state required a huge registration fee, Atkins did not press the case.

There was little debate over the Sanders legislation.

A similar Senate bill faces at least one more committee hearing before reaching a full Senate vote.

A fantasy sport is an online game in which participants assemble imaginary teams of real players of a professional sport. The teams compete based on performances of the players in actual games.

Several states are looking into regulating fantasy sports.

FanDuel and DraftKings are the dominate fantasy sports websites. It is a multi-billion industry, with NFL fantasy football the most popular game.

FanDuel proclaims on its website: "Paying out millions in real cash prizes every week, with instant payouts as soon as contests end."

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