Several US States Seek to Make DFS Legal in 2017

Until recently, the massive potential of the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) seemed to remain somehow outside the focus of the gaming operators on the territory of the UK. What is more, the Daily Fantasy Sports were operating without getting the official permission of the states’ competent authorities, providing customers to place wagers on fantasy sports games on a daily and weekly basis.

This, however, changed in 2015, when a number of DFS operators chose to come to light, unveiling massive advertising campaigns on several sports channels. Then, regulation of daily fantasy sports became one of the hottest topics, especially when it was included in the third Republican presidential debate.

Of course, the increasing interest towards DFS regulation also provoked increased monitoring of these operations, with the games offered to local customers being put under tight reviews, with some US states officially prohibiting DFS operations. Still, there were also states which have seen the potential of these operations, with DFS efforts being made in a number of states with controversial success.

So, for the time being, some states on the territory of the US that have prohibited DFS are making legislation attempts to make DFS legal. Others are aimed at regulating the operations as a form of gambling and make DFS status clearer under the already existing gambling legislation, because DFS websites operate freely in most US states, but their gambling statute is a matter of debates and discussions. Some states, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California introduced DFS bills in 2016, but their efforts failed over the last year’s legislative sessions. Last year, a total of eight US states enacted laws regarding DFS.

Some of them have given up from their attempts for the time being, but others re-introduced Daily Fantasy Sports legislation in 2017.

Mississippi

The state of Mississippi was one of the states that saw DFS bills emerge over the current legislative session. At the beginning of February, the Mississippi House approved gave the green light to a gambling bill related to DFS and passed it to the State Senate.

The House Bill 967 first failed to get the approval of the House, but then the latter reversed its own decision and pushed the proposed piece of legislation to the next step after getting the support needed after a second vote.

The bill plans to impose a 8% tax on DFS operators, with the local Gaming Commission being the competent authority that is to regulate the all issues related to DFS offering in both retail and online casinos. Back in 2016, the state legalised the fantasy sports contests, but the latter remained unregulated. Later, in March 2017 the Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Signed the new DFS law into effect, with the new piece of legislation following last year’s effort of the state to make DFS legal.

Texas

Texas has also become one of the US states that have put their efforts in the introduction of a number of gambling bills. This year, the state has faced the daily fantasy sports legislation attempts, aimed at bringing some legal clarity.

The DFS Bill S 1970 was filed by Senator Lois Kolkhors literally at the last minute. The piece of legislation seeks to make DFS operations legal on the territory of Texas and also provides the necessary regulatory framework. Another feature of the proposed daily fantasy sports bill is the fact that special customer protection measures are also included in S1970.

The proposed bill is not the first attempt of local DFS proponents to introduce daily fantasy sports legislation in the state. In February 2017, another DFS bill was presented, but the state of Texas has never really paid much attention on DFS regulation. The situation becomes even harder by the fact that the state’s legislature meets every two years only, so if the state fails to make DFS operations legal in 2017, it will not be until 2019 when it will be possible for another DFS legislation attempt to be made.

Illinois

Illinois has also been looking to expand its gambling industry by the addition of daily fantasy sports legislation. Earlier in 2017, a new DFS bill was introduced to state legislature.

The proposed piece of legislation not only seeks to make DFS operations legal in the state of Illinois, but also to regulate them as part of the available sports betting offerings. As a matter of fact, the bill has already faced criticism from some opponents, who insist that the proposed piece of legislation would bring unfavourable effects to the forms of gambling which are currently officially permitted in the state.

Back in 2015, the Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued an advisory opinion saying that DFS operations had not been legal under the current gambling laws in the state. The new proposed bill, sponsored by the Representative Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, seeks to replace this advisory opinion, but the fate of the piece of legislation is still not known.

Iowa

The state of Iowa has actually been considered as one of the states most likely to make daily fantasy sports legal. Unfortunately, at this stage the expansion of the local gaming market looks like a long shot.

For the time being, DFS betting is not permitted in Iowa. What is more, the state gambling law has even prevented several companies from providing such operations there, leaving some of the largest US DFS companies such as DraftKings, FantasyDraft and FanDuel out of the game for years.

The implementation of the DFS operations in the state has been considered towards the end of the local legislature’s session, which doomed it to failure.

Ohio

The state of Ohio has been reported as one of the states that could soon see daily fantasy sports legislation go live. Earlier in 2017, a DFS bill has been presented in an attempt for making these operations legal on the territory of the state in order for the gambling market in the state to be expanded.

Currently, the legal framework of the state prohibits all games classified as games of chance from being offered to local players. The proposed piece of legislation, however, seeks to make DFS offering legal within the state. In order for this to happen, the proposed bill is required to be first considered by the local House Committee before being allowed to move forward on the way to becoming law.

The proposed bill not only aims at making daily fantasy sports legal in Ohio, but also provides regulatory framework as well as further details regarding the operating licenses that are to be granted to operators.

Vermont

Just like the state of Ohio, Vermont is also considered very likely to soon approve the legislation of DFS. The state has seen a proposed piece of legislation called S.136, which is literally only a step away from becoming law.

The bill primarily focuses on the regulation of daily fantasy sports, offering a legal framework for the main issues related to DFS operations. Unfortunately, the S.136 does not provide many details as long as regulatory framework, operating licenses, tax procedures and tax amounts are concerned.

The proposed bill needs to get the official approval of state’s Governor Phil Scott. For the time being, the Governor has not issued his opinion on the issue and is not yet clear if the bill is to be actually signed, or not. 

http://www.casinoguardian.co.uk/2017/05/29/several-us-states-seek-make-dfs-legal-2017/