Fantasy Sports Bill Approved by Mississippi Lawmakers

by Kyle Miller

MississippiLawmakers in the state of Mississippi agree to move fantasy sports bill forward.

In the past, the United States seemed fixated on casino and poker gaming. From online game play to land-based, any discussion involving gambling included these two topics. However, over the past few years, the discussion has now leaned more towards daily fantasy sports. Since late 2015, the daily fantasy sports industry has been a hot topic of debate in the US and continues to be considered by several states in the US. Just recently, Mississippi decided to approve a fantasy sports bill with the bill now to be considered by the governor of the state.

Daily Fantasy Legislation Moves Forward

Legislation for daily fantasy sports betting is now on the shoulders of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. Legislature in the state decided to vote 46 to 6 in favor of DFS gambling with proper regulations now to be created in the state. The bill now needs to be signed by the governor in order to become law.

House Bill 967 will leave the regulation of daily fantasy sports wagering up to the Mississippi Gaming Commission in regards to casino or online game play. This will include a background check taking place for all operators of DFS along with an annual audit. A state license will also be needed for operators to be able to conduct business.

DFS operators will face an 8% tax on revenues which is quite low considering other states tax rates set for online gambling games. Consumer protections have been outlined in the measure including banning employees from playing at sites owned by their employers as well as creating a minimum age requirement of 18 years. Provisions will also be put in place to provide contest data security as well as segregate funds with accounts for operations as well as player funds.

Will the Governor Approve the Measure?

Analysts have predicted that Governor Bryant will sign the Fantasy Sports Bill into law. The state is in desperate need of funds and such operations would provide additional revenues for the state. House Gaming Chair Richard Bennett has stated that while he does not necessarily thing the industry will create a large amount of revenue it will help ease the strain and should grow as the industry gets started. Bennett also stated that it is difficult to determine how much tax revenue will be created as other states have not been able to provide such information as of yet.

Mississippi hopes to be able to earn $5 million in annual tax collections from the daily fantasy sports industry but some feel this estimate is too high. However, even if that amount were earned via DFS it is a far cry from the $6 billion+ the state faces with the budget.

Mississippi is not the only state looking at the daily fantasy sports industry to bring in additional revenues. Many states have passed legislation or are currently considering a bill that would require licensing and regulations followed by operators. Taxes would be put in place on revenues which is how the states earn money from the industry.

Operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel are open to legislation as they want to be able to continue to provide their customers with their DFS service options. In the past, the operators offered their services with no issue, but once states began to call the activity illegal gambling, things got messy. Several states, including New York, first made the operators stop offering services until regulations were put in place.

For now, we shall have to wait and see if the Governor will decide to pass the legislation or veto the bill. It seems highly likely that the bill will be signed into law.