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Washington Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Fantasy Sports
Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to legalize fantasy sports contests like this one on


On the eve of the Super Bowl, Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to legalize fantasy sports contests.

This is where sports fans build an imaginary team based on the stats of real players. They then compete in a league with other participants.

A state Senate panel took testimony Friday on a measure to reclassify these contests as games of skill, not gambling. But Democratic state Sen. Steve Conway is skeptical, especially after hearing about online daily fantasy sports contests.

“For many of us, it’s hard for us to understand how a daily game is a fantasy league game,” Conway said. “If this is a daily game then it sounds more like it’s a gambling activity rather than a game of skill.”

Currently, Washington law considers fantasy sports to be illegal forms of gambling. Supporters of the measure say 45 states already allow fantasy competitions making Washington an outlier. They also note that participants are not betting on real teams or real games.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.