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Tony Romo Talks DFS with Texas Lawmakers

Tony Romo is somewhat of a controversial figure in Dallas sports history. He played for the NFL’s Cowboys for over a decade, most of that as the team’s starting quarterback. He had his injury problems, but when healthy, he was generally quite good with moments of greatness. In 2014, the last season in which he was healthy (he played in 15 of 16 regular season games), Romo led the league in passer rating, completion percentage, touchdown percentage, and yards per pass attempt. Despite his regular season success, though, he only played in six playoff games, winning just two. Nevertheless, most fans in the state love him (it doesn’t hurt that he is a nice guy) and, as such, the now-retired Romo was honored by the state legislature last week with a ceremonial resolution.

While he was in the state capitol, Romo met with several lawmakers about the possibility of legalizing daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Texas. Early last year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared DFS to be illegal gambling. Based on the law, Paxton determined that because DFS is at least partially based on chance, an entry is thus considered a bet and therefore DFS is illegal gambling.

The two major DFS sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, disagreed with the decision, but only FanDuel withdrew from the market.

A bill to legalize DFS is present in both the Texas House and Senate; the House bill’s sponsor, Richard Raymond, is also the sponsor of the honorary Romo bill. According to the Dallas Morning News, that bill has “stalled in the House Calendars Committee.”

More than just being a former football player and a fantasy sports fan, Tony Romo has a financial stake in fantasy sports as a major equity holder in the National Fantasy Football Convention (NFFC), which he has scheduled to be held in Dallas this summer.

The NFFC’s founders describe the event as “a groundbreaking, interactive, and entertaining series of events, exhibits, and opportunities designed entirely for fantasy football fans nationwide, uniting fans with their passions at an unprecedented scale and scope.”

Romo and his partners tried to hold the first one at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas in 2015, expecting one hundred NFL players to show up and mingle with the attendees. The NFL, though, did not like the idea of the NFFC being associated with gambling (though the Expo has no gambling activities) and put a stop to it.

The thing was, it’s not like the NFL just told Romo he couldn’t host the convention. Instead, according to reports and Romo himself, NFL officials killed it by threatening players with suspensions if they attended. With the players out of the mix, the convention had no chance.

The NFFC was rescheduled for the following year in Los Angeles, but for some reason, the NFL also undermined it there. The NFFC sued the NFL as a result of the 2015 interference, but got nowhere. A lawsuit following last year’s debacle, though, is on track to go to trial in November.

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