National sports columnists blast Kansas for outlawing Fantasy Football

By: David Marcus Email
By: David Marcus Email

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WICHITA, Kan.- Fantasy football is becoming as popular as the NFL itself. According to Forbes Magazine, nearly 32-million Americans take part.

It's been documented that the game is played by some staff at the White House, even by members of the clergy and law enforcement. The recent book, "Fantasy Life", by fantasy football guru Matthew Berry, documents these leagues.

So it comes as a shock to learn that the State of Kansas has been throwing a penalty flag at 'pay to play' fantasy sports leagues, for years now.

Thanks to State Statute 21-6404, it's illegal in the Sunflower State.

The law states, if a fantasy league involves "the elements of a prize, chance and consideration, then it constitutes an illegal lottery, prohibited by Kansas criminal law."

If you're caught paying an entry fee for a potential prize for fantasy football in Kansas, you could be charged with a Class-B non-person misdemeanor. That means, you actually could face up to six months of jail time.

Fantasy football players like Aaron Biggs of Wichita say they will continue to play, regardless of criminal penalty.

"It's not really going to affect me much, we're too far into it," Biggs says. "And people have been doing it for too long to care."

National fantasy football guru's and columnists say they're stunned that their livelihood is under fire in Kansas.

""It seems like it's kind of archaic thinking in this day and age," says Brad Evans, national fantasy football columnist for Yahoo Sports. "It's really similar to filling out an NCAA basketball pool right? Every cop in the state is probably in one of those."

Some fantasy experts say Kansas politicians need to get involved, to help fantasy football pick up the ball.

"Whether it will rise to the level of a member of the State Legislature saying, 'you know what? This is a harmless endeavor and I'd like to know that I can do this without getting in trouble for it.," says fantasy football writer B.J. Rudell.

So, just how far does Kansas law enforcement go towards stopping fantasy football? For now, the players say the games will go on.

"Stay the course!", says Evans. "It's a one-point four billion dollar industry right now. Everyone wants a slice of the pie. I don't think anyone's gonna come in, kicking down doors, with guns in hand, and breaking up your fantasy league. So enjoy and happy drafting!"

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