Attorney tells fantasy sports players to withdraw money

- A top Florida gambling attorney and a Florida State University professor are advising clients and students to withdraw their money from online fantasy football websites.

DraftKings and FanDuel are two fantasy sports websites that are the focus of a federal investigation into illegal sports gambling. FOX 13 learned that part of the investigation is happening in Tampa.

"When the government chooses to shut the activity down, you are going to be left out and your money is going to be frozen," said Tallahassee attorney Marc Dunbar.

Joe Viera of St. Petersburg said he has not wagered too much money on the sites, but he is still concerned.

"Hopefully it doesn't get shut down. I mean, it's entertaining," Viera said.

Dunbar said wagering on an athlete's success violates state statutes that prohibit bets on games of skill or chance.

"I encourage folks to cash out frequently," Dunbar said.

FanDuel and DraftKings have up to a million customers each week.

A source in the industry insists they aren't like poker websites that were recently shut down, because the fantasy sports websites are up front, based in the United States and will work with lawmakers to stay online.

The companies claim there is no indication that anyone is considering freezing players' money.

One fantasy website told FOX 13 that Dunbar is just after headlines, but he said that's not the case.

"A public relations person's job is to reassure the public and make them feel comfortable right until the activity is shut down," Dunbar said.

Viera said he's going to wait a little longer before bailing.

In a state where you can play the lotto or gamble at a casino, he said this doesn't feel any worse.

"I don't think there is really anything wrong with it," said Viera. "It's legit. It's an app. It's not like it's underground where I am calling some guy in a basement and he is putting bets in for me."

As far as why federal authorities in Tampa are the ones looking at FanDuel and DraftKings, Dunbar said the office has a lot of experience with gambling investigations.

Officials will not release any details about the investigations and there's no timeline on when any changes could be made.

FanDuel said players' money is separate from the website's other accounts.
 

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