Daily Fantasy Sports Legalized in Maine

by Jim Hall

Maine StateDaily fantasy sports continues to be signed into law in the United States with Maine becoming the 15th state to do so.

Daily fantasy sports has quickly become the addition that every state in the US has been adding to their list of online gaming options available. This is quite a stark contrast from what was happening in 2015 to 2016.  Back then, states Attorney Generals were deciding that the activity was an illegal one and operators like FanDuel and DraftKings had to pull their services from those states that made this ruling. However, soon after naming the activity an illegal one, states began to take a look at DFS and legislation was born to regulate and legalize the industry.

This year has been a booming year for individual states to pass daily fantasy sports legislation with the most recent being Maine. The state of Maine is actually the 15th to pass legislation that legalizes and regulates the daily fantasy sports industry. The momentum for DFS is strong and the activity has easily outpaced online poker and casino gaming as the top option for states looking to expand their gaming industry for additional revenues. Maine is the 6th state in 2017 to pass legislation for DFS following such states as New Hampshire, Arkansas, Mississippi, Delaware and Vermont.

For Maine, the bill to see the activity regulated was titled ‘An Act To Regulate and Tax Sports Fantasy League Activities in Maine’. State Senator Roger Katz created the measure with State Representatives Thomas Farrin, Jeffrey Timberlake and Jared Golden as co-sponsors along with State Senators Garrett P. Mason, Andre E. Cushing III and Troy Dale Jackson also co-sponsoring the measure.

The bill was able to pass within the House with a vote of 90 to 53 back in June. The voting numbers for the Senate have yet to be revealed but since the bill has been signed into law, we know the vote was a positive one. Governor Paul LePage was provided with the bill but did not sign it as of this past Tuesday night. When the day ended, the bill automatically became law.

The Language of the Legislation

The new bill is pretty short in nature, only ten pages long with amendments. The bill declares that daily fantasy sports is a game of skill. Because of this classification, the gambling laws of the state do not apply to DFS gaming. An interesting element to this bill is the annual licensing fee. For operators who do not make $100,000 in income from the DFS contests, the $100,000 annual fee does not have to be paid. FanDuel and DraftKings would have to pay the fee but it is only $2,500 so not a huge hit to their bottom line.

Operators who earn $100,000 or more will need to pay a 10% daily fantasy sports tax. The registration fee is set at 10% of the gross fantasy contest revenue but not over a $5,000 amount. Players have to be 18 years of age or older to take part and funds of the players must be segregated from the operating funds of the company. Marketing efforts should not be targeted towards minors or those who might have a gambling addiction.

There are other states that are currently considering daily fantasy sports legislation. Pennsylvania has DFS legislation in the works but lawmakers are focused on other aspects of gaming as of right now. New Jersey has a bill that has already reached the governor’s desk, but no one really knows what Chris Christie will decide to do with the measure. For now, we just sit back and wait to see which state will be the 16th to legalize and regulate DFS contests in the US.