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Fantasy Sports League pari-mutuel betting may become reality in Montana


May 1, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

Legislation to allow Fantasy Sports League pari-mutuel betting may be introduced in Montana’s next legislative session. Proponents of such legislation say that including fantasy sports betting on the existing pari-mutuel betting system in the state, which now only allows wagering on horse and dog racing, would probably increase traffic to simulcast sites and potentially encourage new players for both Fantasy Sports League and horse racing.
As in current simulcasting, the Montana Board of Horse Racing and state tracks with live horse racing would receive a percentage of the handle.
John Tooke of Miles City is an advocate of Fantasy Sports League and attended the March 6 MBOHR meeting for a discussion on the subject. Also present at the meeting were Gene Huntington of the Department of Justice Gambling Control Division and Rick Miller of the Gaming Industry Association.
It was noted at the meeting that MBOHR could support such a bill but not bring the bill itself before the legislature, as they are a state agency. The Board was asked to support any legislative change needed to add fantasy sports betting under Title 23, MCA, in order for the pari-mutuel system to be used. The Board is also being asked to write rules to administer Fantasy Sports League play if legislation is passed authorizing such betting.
“There’s two main purposes of this, the first of which is to develop new horses players by establishing a certain comfort level among people who don’t now bet horses because they’re threatened by the tote system,” Tooke said. By using another vehicle, the Fantasy Sports League, bettors can become more comfortable with the system.
“We need to develop new players for the horse racing industry,” Tooke said.
“Secondly, it’s an opportunity to use this vehicle to generate more money to essentially pay for the system and either make more money to go back into horse racing or to free up money that’s currently being made on the simulcast handle, to have more of that going to racing,” he further explained. “This is really a way to augment the tote costs and use the system that’s already in place.”
“It’s using an activity that’s currently legal under the fantasy sports law,” he continued, “and I just want to adapt it to an accounting system that’s already available through the tote system. That’s all it is, essentially an electronic abacus to manage the pools.”
Under proposed League rules, scoring will be based on NFL professional football team and individual player scoring. Season length would be a 17-week regular season and playoffs, including the Superbowl. Team rosters will consist of 2 to 6 players and/or teams, including a quarterback, kicker, running back, wide receiver, tight-end and an NFL team, which will include all that team’s offensive, defensive, and special players to the member’s team roster.
Teams will be chosen by the league member from the player roster previously drawn at random from the starting players expected to start the week of the competition. Rosters will include 10 quarterbacks, kickers, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends, and 12 NFL League teams.
Participants must choose at least two players to compete in each of the propositions offered (i.e. two quarterbacks, kickers, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends or NFL teams for the quinellas or daily doubles). Three players, one in each roster, must be chosen for the Pick-3 propositions. The Pick-6 requires a player to be picked from each roster as well as an NFL team from the applicable roster.
Fantasy team scoring would be as follows: Quarterbacks will receive 6 points for a passing, receiving or running touchdown, and 2 points for a passing, receiving or running conversion, and 1/10th of a point for each passing or rushing yard. Kickers will receive 1 point for a kicked conversion, 2 points for a running, receiving or passing conversion, and 3 points for kicking a field goal. Kickers will also receive 6 points for a passing, receiving or rushing touchdown.
Running Backs will receive 6 points for a rushing, receiving or passing touchdown and 2 points for a rushing or receiving or passing conversion and 1/10th of a point for each rushing or receiving yard. Receivers will receive 6 points for a rushing, passing or receiving touchdown, and 2 points for a rushing, passing or receiving conversion and 1/10th of a point for each rushing or receiving yard.
In team competition, the member’s team score will include all points scored by the NFL Team’s offense, defense and special teams. Points will be obtained from the official NFL website and winning totals will be posted at the fantasy league location prior to Monday Night Football.
Prizes will be awarded from a pool based on the number of league members entered times the entrance fee less a 15 percent administration fee. Weekly payoff will be based on total team player and NFL team points relative to other players and teams in their division for the week. Should there be an equal number of points scored, the prize pool for the week will be divided among the winning teams.