Daily fantasy sports companies up and running in Alabama

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Daily fantasy sports companies are legal in Alabama after state lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year.

Fantasy sports are online games where players pay fees to put together imaginary teams made of real athletes and get scored based on the performance of their players. Top performers win cash prizes.

Two large companies, FanDuel and DraftKings, are operating in the state. Gregory Karamitis, the senior vice president of Fantasy Sports at DraftKings, said the company started operating in June.

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“With Alabama, our historical data has told us that really two main sports are going to be key, which is college football and NASCAR,” said Karamitis.

It did not pass the state legislature this year without controversy and nearly a five-hour debate in the House. Some question whether it is a game of skill or chance.

“We do believe that it’s gambling. Especially online gambling. It’s open up to the younger generation. It’s highly addictive and we believe it will bring a lot of problems to the state,” said Becky Gerritson with Eagle Forum of Alabama.

Others say there is much more skill involved rather than chance.

“And then you’re competing really against the lineup building skill of other fantasy competitors,” Karamitis said.

There is a history of daily fantasy sports contests in Alabama. Back in 2016 fantasy sports operators were shut down after Alabama’s former attorney general Luther Strange said online fantasy sports betting sites were illegal.

This new 2019 Alabama law allows companies in the state before May 1, 2016, to operate their games in the state legally. Other companies will need to wait until the end of November before filling out an application with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office to operate.

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